Kate Braestrup serves as chaplain to the Maine (Game) Warden Service. She is the author of a novel, Onion, and several bestselling memoirs. She has written for O, the Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, More Magazine and the Huffington Post. She lives in Maine with her husband, Simon van der Ven, and their six children. Visit her website here.
ANCHOR AND FLARES: A MEMOIR OF MOTHERHOOD, HOPE AND SERVICE (July 14th, 2015)
Kate Braestrup's life was transformed by the loss of her husband; now Kate faces the possibility that she may lose her son.
As a young mother Kate Braestrup discovered the fierce protectiveness that accompanies parenthood. In the intervening years--through mourning her husband and the joy of remarriage and a blended family-Kate has absorbed the rewards and complications of that spirit.
But when her eldest son joins the Marines, Kate is at a crossroads: Can she reconcile her desire to protect her children with her family's legacy of service? Can parents balance the joy of a child's independence with the fear of letting go?
As Kate examines the twinned emotions of faith and fear-inspired by the families she meets as a chaplain and by her son's journey towards purpose and familyhood-she learns that the threats we can't predict will rip us apart and knit us together.
"Kate Braestrup is funny, reflective, and--above all--honest. In Anchor and Flares, she has proven, once again, that she is a writer upon whom nothing is lost, even when her mind is reeling."―Phyllis Theroux, author of Night Lights: Bedtime Stories for Parents in the Dark
"Kate Braestrup is at the very top of her game with Anchor and Flares. She's working to understand the very heart of parenthood--the weave of attachments that make it almost impossible to do what we know we must: let go."―Kelly Corrigan, author of Glitter and Glue and The Middle Place
"Reading Anchor and Flares is like having a fiercely compassionate and comically no-nonsense best friend meandering with you through meditations on faith, war, death, and parenting. Why? Why? Why? Braestrup asks a million times, in a million different ways. Sometimes the answer is courage or grief or hope. But usually it's love."―Catherine Newman, author of Waiting for Birdy
"Sensitive and wholesomely charming, the book is refreshingly free of preachy proselytization and instead addresses the bittersweetness of parenthood and perennial nurturing. Braestrup delivers another appealing, tenderhearted memoir braiding faith and family."―Kirkus
Rights: Little, Brown, North America; Back Bay Books, North America
BEGINNER’S GRACE (2010)
Prayer is an ancient and simple way to prepare yourself for grace, or love, and to learn to recognize it when it comes. Even the briefest "grace" spoken before dinner offers its time-honored wisdom. Yet in spite of hundreds of traditions and teachings and books about prayer, millions of Americans have become ambivalent about it. They are unsure how, when, where, and even why they might pray, afraid they’ll do it wrong, or worried that they won’t be heard.
Writing in the beautiful, funny, honest narrative style that moved and inspired readers of her first book, Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup explains what prayer is and the many ways we can pray. With an approach that is both personal and inclusive, Beginner’s Grace is a new kind of prayer book. Even if you don’t pray and don’t consider yourself religious, there’s room in this book for you. In these pages, Braestrup explains how and why the practice of prayer can open a space in our busy lives for mindfulness, gratitude, contentment, and a wider compassion toward others.
Inspired by her work as a chaplain, Braestrup includes many examples of prayers to draw from—beginning with grace, a brief prayer of thanks. She provides clear models and practical suggestions for making your own and your family’s prayers meaningful and satisfying, and offers prayers for situations in which words might fail: times of anxiety, helplessness, or grief. And she invites you to explore forms of prayer that extend into the wider community, including prayer with and for people we don’t like or with whom we disagree.
A welcoming modern guide to the simplest, most effective way to satisfy a universal spiritual hunger, Beginner’s Grace is for the religious and nonreligious and even irreligious in its generous, good-humored approach to spirituality. With its insight and warmth, Beginner’s Grace is sure to become a spiritual touchstone for people of all faiths.
"Braestrup is astute, entertaining, and scholarly in suggesting prayers from myriad faiths that have served countless generations, including this one. There are prayers for almost every occasion and circumstance: shared meals, birth, death and grief, old age, bedtime for anxious children, safety for those facing daily occupational hazards, even romantic intentions. She invites people to make up their own prayers as she includes tales of frayed nerves, abiding love, and opting for generosity in settings as mundane as the Shop ’N Save. This confirms the comfort and grace afforded by prayer and its power to reveal the beauty of life, warts and all. Amen."–Booklist
“What books about prayer need most is more authors like Kate Braestrup. There's no false piety here, nor is there much heady analysis either. Instead, there is an exquisitely informative, seductive, largely autobiographical, but no-holds-barred frank, presentation of one chaplain's own engagement with prayer.”—Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence
"By often returning to her theme of empathy and consciousness, Braestrup remains a persuasive pastor, praying right through the amen."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Rights: Free Press, North America
MARRIAGE, AND OTHER ACTS OF CHARITY (2010)
In her award-winning memoir Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup won the hearts of readers across the country with her deeply moving and deftly humorous stories of faith, hope and family. Now, with her inimitable voice and generous spirit, she turns her attention to the subjects of love and commitment in Marriage and Other Acts of Charity.
As a minister, Kate Braestrup regularly performs weddings. She has also, at 44, been married twice and widowed once, and accordingly has much to say about life after the ceremony. From helping a newlywed couple make amends after their first fight to preparing herself for her second marriage, Braestrup offers her insights and experiences on what it truly means to share your life with someone, from the first kiss to the last straw, for better or for worse.
Part memoir, part observation of modern marriage, and part meditation on the roles of God and love in our everyday lives, Marriage and Other Acts of Charity is a unique and unforgettable look into why, and how, we love each other, and proves yet again why Kate Braestrup's writing is "inspirational in the best sense" (New York Daily News).
"Braestrup's narration...is filled with the same comfort she offers those she ministers to. Her friendly, easygoing northeastern-accented voice is instantly soothing....Her reading has an often prayerful cadence, though she goes easy on Bible quotation and her discussions of theological issues are so wise and well-thought-out that even the nonreligious won't be put off."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Rights: Little, Brown, North America
HERE IF YOU NEED ME (2007)
Ten years ago, Kate Braestrup and her husband Drew were enjoying the life they shared together. They had four young children, and Drew, a Maine state trooper, would soon begin training to become a minister as well. Then early one morning Drew left for work and everything changed. On the very roads that he protected every day, an oncoming driver lost control, and Kate lost her husband.
Stunned and grieving, Kate decided to continue her husband's dream and became a minister herself. And in that capacity she found a most unusual mission: serving as the minister on search and rescue missions in the Maine woods, giving comfort to people whose loved ones are missing, and to the wardens who sometimes have to deal with awful outcomes. Whether she is with the parents of a 6-year-old girl who had wandered into the woods, with wardens as they search for a snowmobile rider trapped under the ice, or assisting a man whose sister left an infant seat and a suicide note in her car by the side of the road, Braestrup provides solace, understanding, and spiritual guidance when it's needed most.
Here If You Need Me is the story of Kate Braestrup's remarkable journey from grief to faith to happiness. It is dramatic, funny, deeply moving, and simply unforgettable, an uplifting account about finding God through helping others, and the tale of the small miracles that occur every day when life and love are restored.
"A superbly crafted memoir of love, loss, grief, hope and the complex subtleties of faith ...[Braestrup is] remarkable, steady, peaceful and wise."—The Washington Post
"As gripping as any police thriller...[Braestrup tells her story] affectingly, and with style and grace."—The Boston Globe
"Incandescent...extraordinary...[Braestrup] writes with affecting gravity about the everyday horrors she encounters." (A-)—Entertainment Weekly
"It makes a good story, almost too good..."—Time Magazine
"What grabbed us: The simple, poignant prose Ms. Braestrup uses to describe her faith and work."—The Wall Street Journal
Rights: Little Brown, North American; Planeta, Brazil; Oprah, More, Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day, First serial