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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.
|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2014
Availability: In Stock
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.
TellNJasmineMontanaAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A wonderful historical!March 20, 2015TellNJasmineMontanaAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5I've been reading quite a few books from new-to-me authors lately and Playing By Heart is one of them. I've heard a lot of great things about Anne Mateer's book and I'm glad to say that they were all true.
I absolutely loved the duel perspectives Anne Mateer used in this book. Events and situations are seen from both Lula's and Chet's viewpoints. After the first few pages the switches were easy to follow and in my opinion made a big difference in how far I was immersed into the lives of the main characters.
I think what really tugged at me in this story was the way that Lula and Chet dealt with the, at times, unreasonable and painful expectations from family. Sometimes the people that hurt us the most are those we are closest to, they are also the people that we most fear disappointing. The other thing that caught me was how God's plans and our plans are often not quite the same. He takes us in directions we never expected but where we are truly Supposed to be.
As a person who isn't into sports but loves history I really liked learning about the early years and trials of girls basketball. Set against the backdrop of WWI made it even more interesting. A detailed, fun, and thoughtful historical novel.
Playing By Heart was my first Anne Mateer book but, believe me, it won't be my last.
(I received a copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.)
melzNYAge: 25-34Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Playing By HeartMarch 1, 2015melzNYAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Playing By Heart by Anne Mateer is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Ms. Mateer writes these characters and their world so beautifully and vividly that you cannot help but become engrossed in their world. The story starts with Lula Bowman, a serious graduate student out to make her way in life. Her plans however become interrupted by a family tragedy and she must move back to her hometown to help her family. Back in her hometown, she is offered a job teaching music, which she isnt happy about at first. Lula goes through many challenges and her faith in God, determination, and tenacity in meeting these challenges I find endears that character more to the reader.
I really enjoyed this book. Anne Mateer has a gift for writing such complete characters. I definitely recommend this book to everyone who love a good fiction read.
Note: I have received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
A ReaderNCAge: 25-34Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Enjoyable ReadFebruary 2, 2015A ReaderNCAge: 25-34Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Silent films with fast-moving, cheerful characters; phonographs; and old cars pass through my mind when I think of PLAYING BY HEART. Anne Mateer has given us a treasure to enjoy in this novel.
Set during WWI in a small Oklahoma town, PLAYING BY HEART, tells us the stories of Lula and Chet. Ordinary individuals who each gave their dreams to God in order to follow His plan by helping and instructing others.
Lula starts the novel as a serious, graduate student teaching mathematics at a university. Upon the sudden death of her brother-in-law, God asks her to move to a new town to help her sister and family. Lula loves math and doesnt want to quit her job or studies. She begrudgingly accepts the only teaching job available in her new town- a high school music teacher. To her shock she is also assigned the position as girls basketball coach! Lula doesnt know a thing about the sport!
As a heroine, Lula comes across with a little bit of a split personality. Throughout the novel, she keeps informing us that she used to be cheerful and playful; like a butterfly, flitting from one thing to another with only shallow thoughts. Now Lulas very determined and serious about life and her job. I couldnt quite reconcile those two very different behaviors in one person. I believe one can learn self-discipline and apply oneself, but ones personality is not going to drastically switch. Lulas friendships seem to revolve around her nephews, nieces, sister, and Chet. She doesnt have much of a social life. Teaching and practicing the piano for church take a lot of her spare time. Even these appear to be done out of duty rather than love and enjoyment. Lula can be a little stiff at times, but warms up eventually. As I kept reading, the author eventually gave an explanation for Lulas actions and approach to life, love, and family. I understand her better after knowing her full story, but only partly agree with her reason.
Chet is a kind, ordinary gentleman. Hes handsome, but not a flirt. As a hero, hes more serious and gets several opportunities to assist the heroine. I liked how he took on a father/friend role to Lulas nephew after the death of the boys father. Chet also is a great friend and mentor to the boys on the basketball team he coaches. I love the way he brings Lula out and is her friend, as well, as her love interest. He is forgiving and patient with her and his mother. Even though Chet has his own mountains in life, he lets God help him over them.
The themes in PLAYING BY HEART are faith, family, music, and basketball. I like how the hero and heroine had family members they regularly associated with. The bumps within their family life were natural difficulties without being dramatic or over the top.
On the subject of faith I appreciated that both Chet and Lula would pray throughout the book. They turned to God when they realized what they were doing in their own strength wasnt working. Each of their relationships with the Lord got subtly stronger by the end of the book.
Basketball is a sport in which I have no interest whatsoever. I wasnt certain if I would enjoy that aspect of the novel. The details of the practices and actual game got a little boring at times and went over my head. I do appreciate Anne Mateer for including these details because they enhance her book subject. If you are a reader who loves basketball you wont find these details and game scenes tedious. You will be right there with the characters and love it. I did cheer for the teams in their victories and was able to feel the game spirit even without understanding the sport.
The talent of Anne Mateer shines through in the weaving of little period details throughout her work. These gems make the reader feel a part of that particular decade. I loved all the song lyrics, phonograph playing, and the informative, (if somewhat humorous to the 21st century eyes), list of rules for female teachers of that day. It was a normal way of life for those people. I appreciated that the author made the characters accept it and didnt give them modern views outside of their time period.
Anne Mateers books are always on my to-read list. I love her research, historical nuggets, and interesting characters. PLAYING BY HEART isnt my favorite of Annes novels, but it certainly made for and enjoyable reading experience and has found a spot on my keeper shelf.
MaryAnnORAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Early 20th century challengesJanuary 23, 2015MaryAnnORAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Lula Bowman is teaching college math and studying to get an advanced degreenot unusual today, but a century ago it was nearly unheard of. Prejudice against women in higher academics is not the only obstacle Lula has to face. Family problems may destroy her dream, but perhaps God has another one for her to follow. Could that include teaching music and coaching girls high school basketball? Challenges multiply, but Lula adds Gods strength to her own as she struggles to follow through on her commitments. In those days, women teachers were not allowed to have relationships with men and had to abide by strict standards. How times have changed, and so has the game of basketball. A rollicking read!
HeatherRichey, MTAge: 35-44Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Studious Basketball CoachJanuary 11, 2015HeatherRichey, MTAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I so loved this book. My heart cried for Lula who just wanted to belong and missed her mother so very much even after all the years of losing her. Her brothers and sisters didn't understand her at all and didn't even seem to want to try. In fact, they just didn't seem to want her around except when they needed something that they weren't willing to give up the time for. They even called her Fruity Lu.
Another thing that was hard was that the school board made the rules for only women - no going out with men, no dyeing hair (really!). This didn't pertain to the men at all and when Lula was found in a situation with another teacher, she was the only one who lost her job. Definitely not fair.
Lula shows how very strong she is by embracing every thing that is thrown at her and doing it with grace and dignity. She may not have wanted to do what she had to do but she stepped up. I had to admire her for that. She also did it without much complaining and I can say that there are times when I can certainly complain about doing things that don't interest me or that don't benefit me.
I received a copy of this book from THe Book Club Network for my honest review.