Sunday, September 21, 2014

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer Book Review

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer Book Review

Book description from back of 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.

Leona's Review:

This was my first book I have read by Anne Mateer and it did not disappoint.

Lula Bowman has to put her dream of getting a graduate degree in mathematics on hold to help her sister who has lost her husband. The dream of Lula and her father is for Lula to get a graduate degree; her father had always encouraged Lula.

She returns to Dunn, Oklahoma and gets a job as a music teacher. There is no basketball coach for the girl's team and Lula becomes the coach for extra money. This is a new sport at the time and Lula has no clue of what to do. She uses her handbook, Spalding's Official Basket Ball Guide for Women, 1916-1917, on basketball and the coach, Chet Vaughn, of the boy's basketball team to help her.
We have a telephone and a Tin Lizzie owned by Chet but still a single woman cannot be alone with a man. The book is set during WWl when so many men are at war.

Playing by Heart is a Christian romance and God is called upon many times for help. Have some tissues handy because it is also a book that is emotional because there is death, illness, and a little boy's loss of his father for a few examples.
We also see hope, love, sacrifice, history and caring in this historical novel.

The chapters are in first person, one chapter by Lula and the next by Chet and so forth. It gives the reader the feelings of the main characters.

Lula is in Dunn to help her sister and Chet is there to be with his widowed mother while his brother is off to war.

I received a complimentary copy of Playing by Heart from Bethany House to read and review. The opinions are my own.
This would be a good book club read.
I give it a 5 start rating.
Anne Mateer may be reached at
Leona Olson

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