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Review – Kept safely in the darkest night – Marcus Banfield – Gospel Standard

November 2009 | by Jacqueline Pountney

Kept safely in the darkest night

– Stories for youngsters about the Second World War 1940-1945


Marcus Banfield

Gospel Standard Trust Publications; 157 pages; £6.95;
ISBN: 978-1-897837-84-9


This is a hard backed book of short stories written by different people, telling of families’ personal experiences during the Second World War in Holland. It describes how God kept them in difficult times and situations.

     The book is aimed at young people; its foreword makes clear that stories in the first half are aimed at children aged ten to twelve, and those in the second half at those over the age of twelve.

     The division is subtle and determined largely by the length of the stories, but each half covers a similar time span of the war years. This means that, if you are reading the book straight through, it feels as though half way through you are going back to the beginning of the war, having just read a story about the end of the war.

     The stories are centred on children and their families who faced many trials as a result of the occupation of Holland. Most chapters contain a portion of a psalm, translated from the Dutch rhymed version, and each chapter shows clearly how people learnt to trust God for every need, whether it was food for the table on a daily basis or protection from harm by soldiers.

     The book is translated from the original Dutch version and some of the language used is rather old fashioned. Words such as ‘perambulators’ and ‘slumbering’ and the frequent use of ‘thus’, ‘thence’ and ‘thither’ will make this publication hard to understand by young people today.

     It is also all written in the present tense, which makes it seem a bit clumsy when the events described are so obviously in the past. Unfortunately I felt that all this, along with quite a few simple typographical errors, detract from what could be an encouraging history of God’s goodness to his people.

Jacqueline Pountney