I married a sports fan, raised two sporting children, and grew to love some sports. I didn't realize this book would include sports as a big player in the plot when I chose to read it for review. I've read several of Anne Mateer's books and loved every single one of them. I actually chose the book simply because Anne's name was on the cover.
Lula has won a prestigious mathematics award and fellowship to pursue her advanced degree, something that her father has desired for her since she was a child. Lula has a reputation of being "Fruity Lu" because she was a flighty flibbertigibbet who never finished anything while she was growing up. Her desire to finish her math degrees was based in overcoming her reputation and creating a new one. When Lula's brother-in-law passes away suddenly, Lula's plans get changed dramatically. She is needed to come and help her widowed sister, Jewel, with her four children and one on the way. The one thing that Jewel needed most was income and only Lula could possibly fill that need, or so her brothers and other sister thought. In seeking income that would help fill the need, the only job available for Lula was as a music teacher and girl's basketball coach.
Chet is the boy's basketball coach and is unusually drawn to Lula. Chet was baffled by his affection for Lula since he's been the one pursued instead of the one pursuing. There were several teachers at the high school who would have liked the attentions of Chet, but he just wasn't interested in them. Chet was also living with his mother and taking care of her, while his brother had enlisted to fight in World War I. His mother believed that Chet was being a coward by not enlisting and refused to see that it took more courage to stay home and care for her.
Since Lula had no knowledge of basketball, she had to depend on the advice of Chet and a booklet of the rules of basketball. Anne's research here has served her well. The game of basketball has evolved quite a bit from the one that she described in the early 1900's. Even when I was in junior high in the 1970's, the game of basketball was quite different from what Anne detailed. The time that Lula spent with Chet in learning how to coach basketball allowed a friendship to grow.
Lula had one other job during this time that she was helping her sister--pianist for the church. Through the trials Lula went through, she relied on one hymn to keep her focused and to keep her faith strong--The Solid Rock. It is one of my favorite hymns too. When Lula was Playing by Heart, she was allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to her heart. It made all the difference in the world.
There are a couple of subplots that add to the depth of the story that I have not detailed here, but Anne has done a masterful job of writing a compelling story taking place during a rather unsettled time in the world's history at large, and our country's history specifically. Her characters are full and the emotions she writes are realistic. I cannot recommend this book enough.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and the Solid Rock of hope.
I was given the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my review. The opinions are my own and no remuneration or compensation was given for this review.