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.
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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?
My fave college team is Penn State, followed by University of Maryland and University of Wisconsin.
Hi Les! How are your teams doing? We’re in the middle of it right now, aren’t we?? Our Mississippi teams we follow both lost this weekend. I guess that’s what makes it interesting…
I hope you like Tackling the Fields if you read it!
My team (Univ of TN) lost miserably. Sadness.
I love pro football so much that I don’t follow college football teams very closely. But I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, so I would have to choose the Texas Longhorns.
Rebecca, My son is now a Dallas Cowboys fan, so it was playing last night. He loved Dak at Mississippi State, we all did, and so we’re excited to see him play for Dallas! I think all of Mississippi is!
I hope you enjoy Tackling the Fields which feature my school, Ole Miss. 🙂 We had Eli Manning, so I watch him, too, when I remember or get to use the remote, ha!
go Manning brothers!!! We’re Peyton & Eli fans 🙂
The real UT for sure! The Longhorns just in case there’s any confusion! This book sounds really good. I’ve never read this author before. Thanks for the chance.
hmmm…. to me UT means University of Tennessee. I don’t understand the “Longhorns”? 😉
Hi Kim! I’m guessing University of Texas? I hope you like Tackling the Fields if you read it! It’s the 3rd book in the series, but I think you can make sense of if without the first two. Of course, I’m the totally wrong person to know, ha!
you can absolutely read it as a stand-alone!
Yep! University of Texas! My son went there and we live in Texas. I love football, especially college football. I am going to Amazon now to check out your books. If Carrie likes them I know I will! Since I discovered this blog my TBR is out of control!
hahahahaha! I should be sorry, Kim.. but … NOPE 😉
Haha! I’m not sorry either! I think my husband is though ? I just know we would be the best of friends if I still lived in KY! ?
LOL yes! For sure!! And our bank accounts would surely suffer 😉
Kim, I’m so excited that you’re going to read them, I’m sending a virtual hug 🙂 Thank you!! Let me know what you think!
Yes, Carrie’s such a great resource. My TBR is ridiculous… Now that the 4th book of the series released this weekend, I hope to read a couple on my shelf!
I mentioned here to another Texan that we are now watching the Cowboys because of Dak Prescott. He went to Mississippi State where my husband and son attended. Do you watch the Cowboys?
Yes we do watch the Cowboys and I’m thinking Romo has lost his job. Dak is awesome! I knew yesterday when they were talking about him throwing the most passes with no interceptions, he would throw one! Although I think that should’ve been ruled a fumble instead of an interception. Anyway, I will let you know after I read your book!
Dak seems like a nice young man. Thanks, Kim! 🙂
I’m from Kansas, so the Kansas State Wildcats are my favorite team, but I live in a little town connected to Clemson, SC, now so have totally adopted the Clemson Tigers.
My husband is also from Kansas, Katy – Lawrence, specifically. So we cheer for the Jayhawks in basketball and the Wildcats (Kansas AND Kentucky, since that’s where we live now) for football. 🙂
Hi Katy! I had a roommate years ago who was from an area near Seneca and went to Clemson. She was crazy about them. I think they won this weekend, right?
I hope you enjoy the Southern Heart Series!
Carrie, Thank for the beautiful review! I’m doing a happy dance with my coffee because you like it! Careful not to spill of course the hot black cup of energy 🙂
hahaha! Yes, I don’t want to be responsible for coffee burns or stains 😉
You’re off the hook. My clumsy weirdness is all on me, ha!
The Clemson Tigers! Undefeated so far this season… survived a close one last weekend against NC State. Won in overtime.
i heard about that! Whew! Those are the best (and most stressful) games to watch, aren’t they?
That’s so much fun! And what a nail-biter!!
Ah. Sad to say I don’t have one (gasp!). My husband is horrified.
hahaha! In a reversal of that, my husband wouldn’t have one either 🙂
LOL! It’s okay either way. If you want you can just read about my team 🙂
I don’t have a favorite sports team since I don’t enjoy watching sports. The college team that is closest to me would be the Saluki’s in So. IL. I still like to read about them and think this book sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.
I’m not a big sports fan either, Donna. But I do love college football 🙂
Hi Donna! That’s okay! My books are more about the romance than the football anyway 🙂
I hope you like them!!
I’m not a football fan, but since I’m from Michigan, I would say University of Michigan.
Didn’t y’all beat Ohio the other day?
Hi Dianne! I think Michigan is supposed to be great! I think Carrie would agree that the football is more of a backdrop than the focus. I hope you like Cole and Audrey 🙂 and Tack the Fields!
Oh yes definitely!
I would have to say USU–Utah State University–because it’s my alma mater and it’s local. I’m not really into football much. My dad and grandfather were both basketball coaches, so I’m kind of prejudiced toward that. I grew up on it (although the athletic gene skipped me entirely).
Thanks for the intriguing review, Carrie and Janet! I’ve read Leaving Oxford and loved it (left reviews, too). I have Going Up South on my Kindle but haven’t gotten to it yet (hoping soon). Tackling the Fields and Blown Together are going on my wish list!
Yay!!! You don’t have to be into football to love this series
Hi Winnie! Great to see you here! Waving! I played basketball, but that doesn’t mean I was very good, ha! It was fun, and I was definitely thin back then. All the running!
Thanks for the sweet words about Leaving Oxford. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series!
Maybe you’ll win Tackling the Fields!
Janet! (Waving back!) That would be awesome if I win your book! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them.
Yay for basketball. My Grandpa, Dad and brother all played college ball. My dad once played against the Harlem Globetrotters. My Grandfather was the first person who lettered in four sports in a single year at the University of Utah–basketball, football, track and baseball. Like I said, the athletic gene skipped me, but I have some volleyball, basketball, and track and field kids. Two of my boys placed in state in the high jump and the other one qualified for state in the 110 hurdles but missed placing. My youngest daughter played volleyball and basketball in Jr. High and High School. My other daughter inherited my non-athletic gene but loved drama and yearbook and plays the piano beautifully.
I was actually pretty good at shooting baskets when I was younger, but I’ve never been coordinated enough to run and dribble at the same time. LOL
Winnie, That’s so cool about the Harlem Globetrotters!! Plus lettering in 4 sports!
Running and dribbling is tough! It’s fun to watch our kids be successful 🙂
I’m not a big football fan, but my favorite college basketball team is University of North Carolina.
You don’t have to love football to love this series! I’m not a huge sports fan… but I do love college football.
Hi Connie! Basketball is a fun sport. I used to play, but I probably couldn’t run across the court now, ha! I hope you didn’t get any storm damage where you are.
I hope you like the Southern Hearts Series if you read them!
my brother and his family live in Atlanta and cheer for the Falcons 🙂
and the Bulldogs 🙂
Carrie, We both have people in Atlanta. I just got back, and the traffic is still horrible, ha! I feel bad for the Bulldogs this year. (Except when they play Mississippi.)
Lol yes, the traffic is not fun. Maybe we will be in ATL at the same time one of these days 🙂
That would be fun!
Hi Martha! My daughter moved to Atlanta, so we’re rooting for the Falcons some now, too! Thanks for stopping in!
I’ll be safe and just go with my husband’s fav one: Notre Dame
Hi Megan! I think Notre Dame is usually pretty good, right! I lived in Indiana for a few months for a job years ago, and it was a nice place. Oh, and I visited IU once, too!
Thanks for commenting 🙂
that’s probably a smart move, Megan 😉
I’m not a huge fan of college football, but I do keep tabs on the Huskers. I used to live in Lincoln, NE and got into the Husker fan club when there.
They can rope you in for sure
Hi Kerri! Nebraska sounds really cold to this Mississippi girl! Fan clubs can be a fun social time even if you don’t like football, ha!
I hope you enjoy the series 🙂
I’m a die-hard Washington Huskies fan (University of Washington.) Although it would stand to reason since I am from Western Washington, but I also had a close friend who played football for UW and one who was a cheerleader.
Hi Terrill! I’ve heard Washington is really pretty! It’s fun to watch when you’ve had ties like that!
I hope you enjoy the Tackling the Fields if you read it!
Thanks for saying hello!
I’m a TXn but years ago my LA cousins took me to an LSU game. Geaux Tigers!
Haha! Indeed 🙂
Hi JJ! Oh, I have so many Tiger fans as friends, but as an Ole Miss grad, I have such a hard time cheering for those Tigers, at times, ha! I do love my LA neighbors, though 🙂
Thanks for saying hello!
I don’t watch much college football so I don’t really have a favorite team.
Hi Julie! No worries! Maybe you’ll like the romance part of the Tackling the Fields 🙂
You can always follow my team, Ole Miss, ha!
definitely not a requirement to love these books 🙂