Book Reviews

Book Review/Giveaway: 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.

playing by heartWith 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.


“Mateer’s turn-of-the-century story is full of characters who will touch your heart.”–RT Book Reviews


 Anne Mateer is the master at writing historical romance. When you open Playing by Heart, settle in and prepare yourself for a wonderful journey. The story of Lula and Chet’s romance transcends time, their relationship could easily happen today. You have a woman who struggles with an identity cast upon her by those she trusts and loves, her family. She wants to be the person God desires her to be, but who is that person? Her heart’s desire is to do the right thing, so she prays and seeks to follow God even when He seems silent.  Then you have the hero, Chet. Chet is the strong silent type. He’s devoted to his mother (he scores big points here!) and always does what is expected, yet his heart is not content. God is leading him toward major life changes, but how willingly does Chet follow? For a man who always does what is expected, what happens when God changes the rules?

I love how Mateer created two character who become people I think about long after I set the book down and go about my day. Let’s face it, this is a romance, so you are pretty sure you know how the book is going to end. 🙂 But, you still find yourself cheering at the right parts. I also enjoyed how the author introduced the heroine to the game of basketball. I laughed several times just picturing myself trying to lead a team. My own family can attest to my lack of coordination, which is a whole different post!


Overall, I would highly recommend this book.  Anne Mateer once again captured me from the first page.  In order to celebrate the release of her new book, I’d love to gift a reader with my copy.  If you are interested, please leave a comment.  The contest will close on Friday, October 10th.  A winner will be drawn either Friday or Saturday.

If you would like to learn more about Anne Mateer, you can visit here:

5 thoughts on “Book Review/Giveaway: Playing by Heart”

  1. I’ve never read anything by this author, but this books looks intriguing! Anything with a piano on the cover and someone holding books . . . Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Stacey!


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