Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But when she receives a shocking telephone call from her sister, Jewel, everything she's worked for begins to crumble.
After the sudden death of Jewel's husband, Jewel needs Lula's help. 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. Neither subject belongs anywhere near the halls of academia, according to Lula!
Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year, determined to do well and prove herself to the town. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys' coach, Chet, to learn the game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She's returning to college as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.
However, the more time she spends in Dunn, the more Lula realizes God is working on her heart--and her future is beginning to look a lot different than she'd expected.
I don't think I would have ever put a story together about math, basketball, and music....yet, surprisingly enough, it works :)
Historically wise there is a lot in this book that is just really interesting. Everything from the old rules of basketball (and how they were different for boys vs. girls), rules as a female teacher, things about the war, etc.
There is a lot in the story about finding yourself, and not letting others perceptions of you (or who you used to be) decide who God meant for you to be. There is stuff in this story about overcoming fears, and about forgiveness.
The secondary characters for me were really the star of the story. I loved Lula's and Chet's relationships with their students. The girls and boys in the story were really well written and I looked forward to getting to know them. I also enjoyed how the story had both Chet and Lula's points-of-view, although sometimes things didn't flow as well as I would have liked them too.
The ending took a definite twist that I wasn't expecting, and instead of being absolutely sure that no matter what happens the main characters will get together, I honestly was wondering if the book was going to take an extremely drastic turn and go somewhere completely different.
In summary, I enjoyed it. I may or may not read it again, though. If you like Historical Christian Fiction I'd even tell you to read it, but with a note that you needed to talk to me and what you thought about it after.
Title: Playing by Heart
Author: Anne Mateer
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: September 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a review.