Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Review: Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

About the book:

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer
Bethany House

Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn't even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel's family, the girls' basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she's given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she'd expected.

 My Review:

            Anne Mateer is an author I have yet to read but, Playing by Heart has convinced me to pick up copies of her remaining novels. She weaves together romance, humor and even a bit of basketball history in a book that had me flipping page after page.        

Lula Bowman has spent years trying to do away with the stigma of “Fruity Lu,” a name and reputation she earned in high school. She swore off boys, music, games and all things frivolous in order to pursue a degree in mathematics, still considered a man’s field. However, after disaster strikes her family, she puts her goals on hold to return home and help her sister get back on her feet. She never expected a position as a dual music teacher and girls’ basketball coach, as well as a handsome math teacher, would make her question everything she thought she wanted in her life.

I think my favorite character of this novel was, by far, Chet. He always made an effort to be caring and kind to his mother, although she never made it easy for him, and he truly cared about Blaze and the boys on his basketball team as well as J.C. Lula was also a character I enjoyed reading about. She was smart and resourceful as well as selfless, giving up on her own dreams to help Jewel. I enjoyed how Lula and Chet were drawn to each other without being overly romantic and thought the author neatly avoided the dreaded insta-love, instead using small actions and kindnesses to bring the two together. I enjoyed the story a look forward to the author’s next release!

***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***

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