PLAYING BY HEART
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.
An exceptional historical novel that had mr cringing and fuming and cheering! I love being steeped in history and Mateer is known for her excellent research. In an interesting author's note, she reveals that basketball coaching aspect of Playing By Heart was inspired by both of her grandmothers. That adds yet another dimension to this fantastic story.
I felt for both Lula and Chet as they tried to balance following their own dreams with family responsibilities and God's will. Both have critical families quick to tear down instead of build up...in a 'loving' way of course. Lula's siblings in particular -- so dismissive. Argh! My blood pressure shot through the roof every time they were in a scene. And her battle to take her place in a man's world. Oy. More gnashing of teeth on my part. She's on a journey of discovery -- figuring out what motives lie behind her dreams and how to mesh old dreams with new ones.
Chet is duty bound. Intense. Deliberate. He has an inner core of strength that stands him in good stead but he has dreams too. Duty and hope for the future are a constant internal conflict.
Sparks fly whenever Lula and Chet get together and their rocky romance makes for an engrossing read. Another exceptional novel from an exceptional writer.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Playing By Heart please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday October 12 2014. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!
"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".