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?
This book is so much more than just a book about sports with a romance in it. I'm not a big sports fan. Sure, I "love" a few home teams, but if I didn't see a game and someone just told me who won and who didn't, that works for me. At the same time, I have sat through many games now, and some super good movies about the games and the men and teams behind them. I like those. For this book, it's like those good movies. The sports interwoven into this book was not off putting to me at all. Yeah!
This book reaches deep. It doesn't just tackle one field in a game, it tackles several exceedingly deep fields. By the time you reach the end, it shows just how aptly this book is named. Abuse in several forms is covered. Physical and sexual abuse, drugs, alcohol, addiction, recovery, pain, loss, hope and forgiveness are just part of the things tackled in this book. It's all brought into a rather deep level as we walk with Audrey and Cole, Grant and Emma, and Bryan to name a few. They are on their journey towards God, or away from Him, and through things that have come very close to totaling their lives.
Even though this book hits head on with so many major issues, it was written with care, and tenderness that comes through. I don't think it will cause trigger issues with anyone who reads it, especially not if they are already recovering. I really liked that!
This book is my favorite in this series so far. I did have to push a bit for the first part of the book, but I think that was just me being silly. After a few chapters I was totally hooked. Tackling the Fields stands alone easily, but has cameos from other characters in the series as well as some from the first two books. In those ways it ties into the series, but if you only read one book in this series so far, pick this one.
My thanks to Celebrate Lit for my free copy in exchange for my honest review, and nothing more.
About the Author
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.
Guest Post from Janet Ferguson
Hi, I’m Janet W. Ferguson, and I’m so excited to be back again and meet more readers through Celebrate Lit!
This is a story I didn’t want to write, but felt called to tackle. The loss of the dream, the loss of innocence, and life’s other unfair struggles can challenge our faith—can make us captive to fear and disappointment.
In the South, we love football. In writing this book, I’m not trying to make a statement for or against the sport. My husband and son loved playing the game. After my son suffered a torn ACL, torn shoulder labrum, and four surgeries, he could no longer participate in the game he loved. He mourned the loss of the brotherhood of his team. I saw the popular pastime differently from his eyes. For young men, I believe it is a bond between friends for a common goal. Though the character in this book is totally fictional, I’m dedicating this book to my son, Luke.
The other sensitive topics in this story seemed particularly sad, but relevant in our society. Trust me, I didn’t prefer to research acquaintance/date rape or human trafficking, but both are going on all too often in communities both small and large. There are a number of organizations set up to help victims of these crimes if you feel a calling to help.
Someone reading this may have had something terrible that happened in their past or may know someone who has. God is able to set free the captives, set you free from the bonds that hold you. My prayer is that you find comfort in that truth.