Review: Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

20665063 Playing by Heart was beautifully written and an interesting storyline. The point of view took a little bit of time to get used to. Each chapter alternated between Chet and Lula and was told from their perspectives, as if they were talking to the reader.

I thought the author did a great job of making me feel like I was back in time, during World War I, in a small Oklahoma town. It did take me a little while to figure out that it was the WWI time period and not WWII.

Overall, I have to admit that I really struggled while reading this book. It was not with the writing, which, like I said was beautifully done. It was with the characters. But, not the main characters. I really liked Chet and Lula and felt for them in the various ways they struggled. My problem was with their family members. I know that there needs to be tension in a book that the characters are struggling against, but the way that Chet and Lula’s family members treated them just made me very mad. Over and over again, I would get so frustrated that I had to close the book and calm down!

Although I personally struggled with this story, I think there are many, many people who are going to love this book. It has quite a bit of charm and a unique way that it is told.
(3.5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.



Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But when she receives a shocking telephone call from her sister, Jewel, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

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.

However, the more time she spends in Dunn, the more Lula realizes God is working on her heart–and her future is beginning to look a lot different than she’d expected.



While I have been writing for what feels like my whole life, I began seriously studying the craft in 2000. Since then I have completed five novels, had several pieces published in local periodicals, attended six writing conferences and managed to final in ACFW’s Genesis contest in 2006, 2008, and 2009. I currently have four historical novels published: Wings of a Dream, At Every Turn (a 2013 Carol Award finalist), A Home for My Heart and Playing by Heart. I am also honored to have a contemporary short story included in 2014′s A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Vol. 4. But writing is only a piece of my life.

I am mostly just a woman trying to live her life in a manner pleasing to the Lord. That involves being a wife to Jeff and a mother to my three teenagers–neither role coming easily but both roles stretching me, requiring me to press in closer to Jesus. And because of this, Jesus has taken an insecure, fearful, sometimes angry girl and is turning her into a more trusting, peaceful, grace-filled woman. At least some of the time. There is still such a long way to go!

You can connect with Anne on her website, Twitter, Facebook
, and Pinterest.


About Brittany

I am a homeschooling mother of four children. I am an avid reader and have been for as long as I can remember. I truly enjoy reading and reviewing books I focus my reading and my reviews on Christian fiction, primarily Christian romantic fiction. I hope you will find my reviews helpful in your decisions on what books to read.
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