Sunday, September 14, 2014

Playing By Heart by Anne Mateer

About the 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.

My thoughts: Set during the Great War, otherwise known as World War I, or the War to End Wars, Playing byHeart follows a young very educated and intellectual young lady who teaches in University and is working toward a PhD in mathematics. This is virtually unheard of at this point in time, but Lula pursues this dream of hers and her father’s. All seems well until she learns that her sister’s husband has died leaving a widow with four small children to care for. Lula’s entire family insists that Lula must give up her teaching position and scholarship and take care of her sister and sister’s family.

Devastated at the thought of leaving her loved profession of teaching in an institute of higher education and further pursuing her own education, it seems that everything is stacked in favor of her making this change in her life – at least temporarily.

The title, Playing by Heart, threw me for awhile – especially since the cover shows Lula touching the keys of a piano. Then into the story we learn that Lula takes a teaching job at the local high school teaching music (not piano) and coaching girls basketball.  Both a far cry from mathematics.

Anne Mateer has written another of her good stories that entertain and keep one reading. I’m not a basketball fan and know very little about the game. So when the game became a somewhat major point in the story, I thought I would lose interest. However, there was not so much game detail that I lost interest; but there was surely enough to realistically portray the character’s activities.

Music does play a part and that proves to be a soothing, comforting, and supportive part of the story. There is a touch of sweet, light romance that I don’t have a problem with at all. I can recommend this book.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Playing By Heart by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review.


  1. this sounds so good! thanks for the honest review.

  2. Added to my TBR on goodreads! I love the cover, that dress is SO pretty :O Sounds awesome :) Thanks so much for the review!


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