MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Playing By Heart by Anne Mateer

Playing by Heart
ISBN: 9780764210655
Publisher Synopsis:
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.
- See more at: http://www.annemateer.com/books/playing-by-heart/#sthash.ZhJ8qfvM.dpuf
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.
- See more at: http://www.annemateer.com/books/playing-by-heart/#sthash.ZhJ8qfvM.dpuf
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.
- See more at: http://www.annemateer.com/books/playing-by-heart/#sthash.ZhJ8qfvM.dpuf
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.

MrsK's Review:
As an educator, I knew I had to take this journey with Lula:
"I sucked in a breath, my back snapping as straight as a lob-lolly pine,
my cheeks stinging hot.
Not a new slur, to be sure, 
but no student had yet dared be insolent to my face."

Meet Lula a newly hired Mathematician for an Oklahoma university. Her hopes were high, her frustrations with certain students would not stand in her way. She was planted firm in her position and faith, that is until the untimely death of her brother in law. What she thought would be a trip home unfolds into a new path. Does God really want her to leave her college position, her father's joy in one child becoming a professor? Just as her goals were in sight... her family would challenge her determination.

Just because Lula is the youngest, unmarried, and "free" to move home to help her older sister Jewel raise her children... does that mean it is what she should do? Why would God request her to become the organist at their church? Why would the local high school be in need of a music teacher? All Lula knows is that she must follow God's lead, especially when:
"Her heart felt shredded, like a piece of silk beneath unwieldy scissors... I knew I'd chosen correctly."

As Lula chooses to walk through the opened doors of the high school, she has hopes that maybe she could switch job positions with the math instructor: 
"Principal Gray, perhaps you have a more qualified music teacher already on staff? I'd be happy to switch places..."
"I have no other options for a music teacher, Miss Bowman. God obviously sent you to fill this spot...
Actually, the position does come with another responsibility..."

Never did Lula expect that she would be teaching music let alone be the girl's basketball coach. She knew nothing about sports, would a manual really help give her enough insight for these girls? Will she need someone to help her make sense of the game?

Meet Chet, a man who has stayed at home instead of enlisting in the service. With one son already shipped out, he knew his place was in taking care of his mother. As a high school math teacher and boy's basketball coach he has the perfect plan for getting a gymnasium built for their school, their students, and their community. What he could use is a bit of help for a few of his players.
"A bell clanged inside the building... I charged inside, determined to reach my classroom before the final student did.
I glanced over at Giles. his eyes went wide. 'Look out!' I slammed into something. Someone."

Once Lula begins her music position, she realizes that "teaching students to recognize the arrangement of notes on the page was similar to teaching mathematical formulas."  What would prove beyond her grasp would be guiding the girl's passion for the game on the floor. For that Lula will need to make a deal with Chet. A deal that is only about basketball moves and math tutoring... or is it?
"I've often had to stand on the firm ground of my convictions when others thought I ought to be doing differently."

Can Lula open her heart and learn about the true treasures that are being offered or will her convictions keep God's offerings out of her grasp? With a storyline that is meshed between two characters, you will find a delightful glimpse into this couple's world. Their community is filled with endearing characters both young and old. The setting is at a time when such hardships of war caused so many to feel that hope would never return. Each and every detail is completely crafted to ensure a joyful excursion beyond your daily hustle and bustle.

If you are ready for a quiet retreat, don't overlook this journey with Lula,
MrsK       

A journey's break worth taking. Lula's story will delight the Book To Dine book Club!
 Anne Mateer  Anne Mateer is a three-time Genesis Contest finalist who has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults.

"I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review."
http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/miracle-in-a-dry-season/349651

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