Sure to please Anne Mateer's fans: "Playing by Heart"

Cover Art

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 review....

With engaging characters and a sweet air of romance, "Playing by Heart" is sure to please long-time fans of Anne Mateer's historical fiction. I quite enjoyed the interesting context of the story, set in a period of time when women were still beginning to stake their claim in the field of higher education, and when the sport of basketball was gaining momentum as a popular high-school sport. The combination creates some interesting interactions between Lula and Chet indeed! And I found myself pondering how different things were back in the early 1900's, when teachers could be forbidden from fraternizing with the opposite sex or risk losing their teaching position! Can you imagine such a condition of employment today? Mateer provides a number of twists and turns in the story that sparked my interest. But I will admit that I did not enjoy this book quite as much as prior books from the author, in that the story seemed to move a tad slowly in some sections, and I was hoping for a deeper sort of family reconciliation between two of the major characters than actually happened. Nevertheless, I did like that Mateer alternates between Lula and Chet's point of view throughout the book, and she did a great job of capturing their unique voices and creating a nice harmony between them. In the end, this book is one that will leave a smile on your face and a lightness to your step as you cannot help but appreciate a good love story - and that perfectly describes "Playing by Heart".

For a heart-warming story that will remind you of the importance of family, and living for God rather than ourselves, look no further than Anne Matter's latest book. I give this book a solid rating and award it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

 about the author....

Anne MateerAnne Mateer is a three-time Genesis Contest finalist who has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults.Visit for more information.