STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Facing life’s tough questions

By Kate Braestrup
Review by
Taking your boat out on open water any time soon? Already there? You’ll want to weather life’s inevitable storms by keeping your anchor and flares aboard at all times. If an emergency strikes, you will need something to hold you steady, and lights can summon help. In this tender follow-up to her 2007 bestseller, Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup weathers her own storms—the sudden death of a spouse and the inevitable departure of a child growing up—and calls upon her work as chaplain for the Maine Game Warden Service to help in her most personal ministry, her family.
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Taking your boat out on open water any time soon? Already there? You’ll want to weather life’s inevitable storms by keeping your anchor and flares aboard at all times. If an emergency strikes, you will need something to hold you steady, and lights can summon help. In this tender follow-up to her 2007 bestseller, Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup weathers her own storms—the sudden death of a spouse and the inevitable departure of a child growing up—and calls upon her work as chaplain for the Maine Game Warden Service to help in her most personal ministry, her family.  

What is hope? she asks, and finds it in one bereaved mother’s ability to carry on after her son drowns, frozen in a pond until spring. What is love, if not the embrace a law officer gives to the dead man’s grieving, deadbeat dad? Does prayer work? she asks in despair, and finds the harder answer lies not in its outcome but in its usefulness, in the love it evokes. 

Suddenly widowed with four young children, Braestrup has had occasion to question everything. Her late husband, a state trooper, was leaning toward the ministry when killed, and she follows his path. As chaplain to the game wardens, she helps both rescuers and victims, providing “spiritual triage” for those in need. 

Now her firstborn has decided, at 17, to enlist in the Marine Corps while war erupts in Iraq and Afghanistan. With earthy humor and humbling honesty, Braestrup strikes a balance between the necessary letting go and the enduring parental instinct to protect. 

 

This article was originally published in the July 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Anchor & Flares

Anchor & Flares

By Kate Braestrup
Little, Brown
ISBN 9780316373784

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