Ambition, changing social roles and romance: Review of Anne Mateer’s “Playing by Heart”

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“Playing by Heart” met my criteria for a good book. It taught me something- namely, it gave me a strong sense of appreciation for how greatly social norms have changed in the past century in terms of women’s roles and perceived abilities in the workplace and in sports. Secondly, “Playing by Heart” created natural, unforced spiritual applications. For instance, I thought the author did a great job conveying the tension that exists for Christians when they are pulled between the pursuit of personal ambition and the sometimes conflicting desire to yield to the will of God for their lives. It’s been true in my experience at any rate that my ambitions and God’s apparent will for me have not always led the same direction, so I was definitely able to connect with the conflict that the main characters in this book faced. I also enjoyed the characters, the dialogue and the plot and just generally appreciated the several hours of good entertainment that this book provided.

I feel compelled to point out that books of this genre (historical Christian romance) are generally more analogous to a TV episode then they are to a blockbuster movie. You read it, enjoy it, and then forget about it and move on to the next one. “Playing by Heart” is not a blockbuster – I don’t think you’re going to feel driven to read it multiple times in the course of your lifetime and it’s unlikely that it will top your list of all-time favorite books…you know, the ones you’d want if you were stranded on a deserted island. However, it’s a good book that takes you to a different time and place, gives you broader perspective about the social forces that have shaped today’s world and it will reinforce spiritual principles like walking in faith and trusting God with your life. You’ll enjoy “Playing by Heart” and pass it on to your book-loving friends, and no doubt you’ll seek out other works by this author.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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