Love Songs for Sceptics by Christina Pishiris
Love Songs for Sceptics is a fresh, funny and fabulously entertaining tale about a tantalising love triangle played out against the backdrop of the cut-throat pop industry. And it’s guaranteed to pluck at the heartstrings of all music nostalgia nerds.
Pishiris, who was born in London to Greek Cypriot parents and whose hobbies include compiling cheesy 80s playlists, pumps up the volume with this warm, heart-hugging and joyful trawl through the music charts as a cynical magazine editor rocks and rolls her way to finding her Mr Right.
When she was 13, Zoë Frixos fell in love with American-born Simon Baxter, her best friend and the boy next door. But when his parents divorced three years later he went back to the States with his mum.
Their friendship has survived for 20 years now, with correspondence and occasional get-togethers. But Zoë has never found a way to tell him how she feels and, like a scratched record, she has never quite moved on.
With every relationship tainted by that ‘brutal’ first love, she has poured all her energies into her work as a music journalist and is now the razor-sharp, smart-talking editor of London music magazine, Re:Sound, a job which puts her into the heart of the brash music industry.
When Simon unexpectedly returns permanently to London, newly divorced and as devastatingly charming as ever, the world is suddenly looking brighter for Zoë. However, she has learned that Re:Sound is facing closure unless she can secure the coup of the century and get an interview with reclusive singer Marcie Tyler who has sold 150 million albums.
But that means ‘playing nice’ with Marcie’s impossibly handsome but arrogant publicist, Nick Jones, who seems intent on hindering Zoë at every turn because of a bad review in her magazine for one of his petulant boy bands.
With preparations for her brother Pete’s upcoming wedding ramping up to fever pitch, Zoë has to attend family gatherings, hen parties and dress fittings, and is also desperately looking for the right moment to tell Simon how she really feels about him.
Can she secure her own happiness, and the future of the magazine she loves, before time runs out?
Written with the assurance, panache and fluency of a seasoned author, Love Songs for Sceptics is a delight from start to finish, and a dazzling opener from an exciting new voice in contemporary women’s fiction.
Pishiris has the gift of making her feelgood rom-com spring to glorious, technicolour life with a liberal sprinkling of musical references, fascinating media insights and boy band tantrums, some luscious love play, and a welcome touch of pathos.
Filled with a charismatic cast of characters – not least the delectable, tough-talking Zoë and the two handsome hunks in her life – this is a story that zings and sings with humour, heart, musical harmony, and even a big fat Greek wedding.
And with each chapter named after an ingeniously selected, blast-from-the-past song, this is not just a comedy to set your beating faster, but a playlist to let you wallow in nostalgia. Enjoy!
Love Songs for Sceptics by Christina Pishiris Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99