Cole Sanders is a changed man. The university quarterback questions his direction in life after serving on a mission trip in Honduras. Things that used to fill Cole’s ego seem empty after witnessing the developing country’s extreme poverty and the death of a precious child. The one glimmer of hope through his confusion is the fresh perspective he now has about his tutor, Audrey. She possesses something beautiful inside and out—something that might help him become the person he wants to be.
University senior Audrey Vaughn tutored Cole Sanders for an entire year and never imagined the popular quarterback would see her as anything more than a friend. After partnering with him on the mission trip, they are drawn together. And he appears to have changed for the better. To let Cole into her life, Audrey will have to overcome not only her brother’s distrust, but also the paralyzing fear still lingering from a past she’s tried to leave behind.
Cole can’t walk away from Audrey now that they’re back in Oxford. He’ll have to figure out how to keep her giant of a brother, a lineman on his football team, from killing him when the coach has his back turned. But can Audrey trust her heart to a player so similar to the one who stole so much from her in the past?
SERIES: Southern Hearts #3
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Southern Sun Press
RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2016
“Don’t let the scars of your past determine your future.”
I am so enjoying Janet Ferguson’s Southern Hearts series. We got to know Cole and Audrey a bit more in the second book Going Up South, but in Tackling the Fields their stories are front and center.
Cole is one of those newly-redeemed rogues we were talking about yesterday in the Sunday Book Club, a player in more ways than just being the university’s star quarterback. Watching him navigate the changes that Jesus has worked in his heart is sweet and sincere – and Janet Ferguson does a great job of weaving these discussions (both external and internal) naturally into the course of the story.
Audrey’s past isn’t full of parties and conquests like Cole’s, just one broken terror-filled memory perpetrated by a friend she trusted. A friend who reminds her a lot of Cole. Yet, deep down she knows that Cole IS different than the boy who still causes her nightmares and, even though Audrey’s brother Grant isn’t ready to trust a guy like Cole, Audrey herself is slowly giving him her heart. The memory of her trauma is written tactfully, with much dignity, and yet not at all minimizing the damage it did to Audrey’s spirit.
In addition to Audrey’s rape (and a sub-thread that builds off of this), Tackling the Fields also tackles the topic of human trafficking, a subject about which I’m very passionate. Again, this is written organically into both the plot and the narrative so the flow of the story isn’t disrupted. If human trafficking and its connection to prostitution and pornography isn’t something you’ve heard much about before, your introduction to it in these pages will hopefully trigger a desire to learn more – including ways to help combat this growing (and appalling) epidemic.
Bottom Line: Keep some tissues handy for this book! Tackling the Fields is an emotional journey but such a sweet one as well. For as often as you find your eyes welling with tears, you will also find yourself smiling at the tenderness of Audrey and Cole’s relationship. The first kiss! AH! So sweet! Moments of humor add levity when needed, and a bit of suspense keeps your pulse at attention. I loved watching Cole fall in love with Jesus…and with Audrey. And I especially loved watching Audrey fall for Cole. It’s not a smooth ride by any means – lots of bumps and bruises along the way – but it’s so worth every moment!
While this book IS part of a series, it could easily be read as a stand-alone.
(I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / Will forget to breathe on occasion
Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.
Other Books in this Series
Janet W. Ferguson is graciously giving away an ebook copy of Tackling the Fields to one of my readers!
What about you? Cole plays football for a university in Oxford, MS (I’ll let you figure out which one). Who is YOUR favorite college football team?