Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review - "Playing by Heart" by Anne Mateer

Cover Art
Playing by Heart
by Anne Mateer
Published by Bethany House Publishers
320 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Christian Romance
About this book:
"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."
Playing by Heart is a sweet story with well developed characters, unique story aspects, and plot twists that I wasn’t expecting. The chapters switch back and forth between the first person point of views of both Lula and Chet. I wasn’t sure about that style at first, but I ended up enjoying reading the story from both perspectives. Although I’m not a sports fan, it was interesting to learn about how basketball was played at the time the story takes place, which is during World War I. While it's not what I’d call a very fast paced novel, I was enthralled in the story and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. My heart hurt for the characters at certain points in the story and I could relate to some of Lula’s struggles. I liked seeing Lula grow in her faith as the story progressed and how she’s dealing with either trying to trust God with His plans for her life or trying to only please certain family members by fulfilling their dreams for her life. The romance was clean and sweet. This was the first book that I’ve read by Anne Mateer and I look forward to reading more of her books! I really enjoyed reading Playing by Heart and would recommend it to those who enjoy reading historical fiction or clean Christian romances.

*I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

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