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Playing by Heart

Playing by Heart is a Christian historical fiction romance by Anne Mateer.

After growing up as flighty “Fruity Lu”, Lula Bowman has prided herself in turning her life around – focusing on academics and achieving a prestigious scholarship in mathematics.

When her mother died, Lula’s father looked to her to achieve his dream of her being the first woman with a PhD – and she longs to make him proud, even as he sits now – elderly and heartbreakingly unaware of her accomplishments.

It’s when Lula’s sister Jewel calls her and desperately needs her help after a shocking death shakes the family to their core that Lula’s goals have to be put – reluctantly – on hold.

Moving back home to help her sister, Lula takes a job at the local school as a music instructor and basketball coach – the only options available to her.

Only problem? She has no idea how to play basketball!

Good thing the handsome boy’s coach Chet seems very willing to help her learn.

But her undeniable magnetic pull toward Chet is against Lula’s will – she never wants to return to her “Fruity Lu” past – and has every intention of returning to college once her sister is back on her feet.

Failing her father is not an option…

Playing by Heart
was a nice, good read with strong themes of family, faith and adjustment of ambitions.

I liked the complexity of Lula’s relationship with her family – her single-minded personality has been shaped by her desire to please her father, whether or not it truly pleases her.

Chet also has a strong family backdrop – feeling disdain from a bitter mother that is resentful of her deceased, deserter husband and finds Chet’s decision to not enlist as cowardice.

Both characters have individualistic personalities and a lot to work out through trust in God – a lot of letting go of parental expectations. It was interesting – I appreciated the depth.

This is a good WWI era novel to enjoy.

*I received a copy of Playing by Heart from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

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