I recently mentioned on Facebook that I desperately needed to discuss Kate Braestrup‘s new book, Anchors and Flares: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hope, and Service, and it came to my attention that many people love her first book, Here If You Need Me and an almost equal number of people were unfamiliar with her or her work.

Ah, it’s so fun to say, “Here, you’ll like this!”

Here If You Need Me is not just a crash course in Braestrup’s life. It is also a primer in ministry- in what it means to sort out being present to yourself, your family, your life, and your vocation. It’s a pretty quick read and it is likely to get you right in the “feels”. I hate that phrase, but I’m not sure how to describe this book. You’re likely to laugh, cry, and nod in recognition of what she writes, all on the same page.


Marriage and Other Acts of Charity: A Memoir is more reflective, not only on her first marriage, but also on the act of loving another person in general. While I like this book, it would not be my recommended first book of hers to read. The discerning reader will benefit from knowing our author and her story better before engaging this book. Braestrup’s signature marvelous vocabulary and powers of description are at work here. This book is likely to be a lovely sorbet of a book for the working counselor or clergywoman/man.


Beginner’s Grace: Bringing Prayer to Life is the book the older people in your congregation might enjoy discussing. Here’s a book that the chaplain to the Maine Game Warden Service wrote about the nature and efficacy of prayer- enjoy! This is not a book of prayers or a book even about how to pray. It is more about what prayer is, how it shows up, and how we’re shaped by prayer.


Lastly, Anchors and Flares: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hope, and Service… So far, everyone who has read this at my recommendation really liked it, but believed they preferred her first book to this one. To me, they’re not the same book. This latter memoir has more of an essay feel than her previous books… as though the author was rambling through tales, the through-thread of which only she knew. I listened to Braestrup read the audiobook in my first encounter with Anchors and Flares and I did note the somewhat disjointed nature of the narrative. However, as the end of the book approaches, one begins to realize that this is not a straight forward memoir. This is a reflection rooted in a particular life event and colored completely by the event in question. The rambling nature of searching for meaning is what people often do in the wake of this type of event. The finding of it is up to them and it is up to those who will listen to allow it to be. Seeing her fourth book in this lens makes it my favorite. Despite owning the audiobook (highly recommended, she’s a great reader), I have also bought the hardback. (It’s not hoarding, it’s a library.)

I do heartily commend any and all of these books to you.

3 thoughts on “RevGalBookPals: Kate Braestrup Roundup

  1. Thanks for the recommendations. I read her first two books at that same time. The prayer book we used in seminary and the first book we used in CPE for chaplaincy. I did not know she has two more books out. I’m on that. I love her books and I think I will take your recommendation for the audio book so I can listen while I’m walking.


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