09 February 2015

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

Goodreads | Amazon
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.

Anne Mateer’s Playing by Heart is a really cute romance, involving math, basketball and relying on God, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Both Lula and Chet are fantastic, relatable characters, who refreshingly alternate between narrating the story in the first person. Each character struggles to balance their familial expectations with personal dreams, and as their paths continue to cross in small-town Oklahoma, their tenuous and developing relationship helps them to both better face their future. Overall, Playing by Heart is sweet and heartwarming, and now I look forward to reading more from Anne Mateer in the future.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley, I received a copy of Playing by Heart and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

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