Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review - Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

I love getting new books in the mail, and it is even more of a treat when it is historical.  This book, Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer, is my latest.  It is set during World War I in a small town in Oklahoma.  The main character, Lula, has had to come home to help her sister after the death of her brother-in-law.  She takes the only job available, as a music teacher and basketball coach at the local high school.  Romance stirs between her and fellow teacher Chet Vaughn, despite both teachers' intentions of not seeking romance.

This was a really good book.  I especially enjoyed how the chapters alternated between Lula's viewpoint and Chet's.  It gave the author the ability to bring out more of their backstories without being a distraction.  The author clearly understood the time frame, as the story flowed naturally with lots of historical detail.  I do think it would be helpful to many readers to state the year at the beginning of the story.  This book also featured a great deal of spiritual growth for both main characters that continued throughout the story.  I enjoyed several secondary characters as well, and some, like Chet's Ma, proved more complex.  I highly recommend this book.  It has great historical detail, complex characters with realistic issues, and is just a good read.

This book was given to me by the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of a review, but all opinions are my own.

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