Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

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Lula Bowman’s got a plan for her life – she’s going to make her Daddy proud and be the first woman PhD in the relatively new state of Oklahoma. However, God has His own plan for her. After tragedy befalls her sister’s family, Lula is coerced to leave her studies and return to her hometown, where she lands the only job she can: music teacher and girls’ basketball coach! Mathematics is her passion, not music and certainly not the newfangled game of basketball. Yet, with her sister’s family depending on her, she reluctantly turns to the handsome boys’ basketball coach for help. Over the months as her heart begins to change, Lula must decide what is more important to her – fulfilling her Dad’s dream or following God’s will.

I must admit, I wasn’t super excited to read this book. I’m not a basketball fan, nor am I musically inclined (unfortunately) or mathematically adept. Yet, I found myself thoroughly enjoying this novel and feeling a serious kinship with the heroine, the erstwhile “Fruity Lu.” It is a wonderfully crafted tale, filled with joy and heartbreak, and a terrific cast of characters that you can’t help but empathize with. It brought both tears to my eyes and a smile to my heart. Very much recommended!

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!

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