Melting in the Middle by Andy Howden

For Stephen Carreras, life is in turmoil. His career with Britain’s worst chocolate company is heading for the rocks when it’s taken over by US confectionery giant Schmaltz. He’s just turned forty, he’s messed up on marriage and is struggling to keep a toehold in the lives of his monosyllabic teenage children.

Then he meets Rachel, who dances to a very different beat. She challenges him to do good among the carnage that surrounds him. But to do so, he must confront his past and work out all over again what really matters…

Long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize, Melting in the Middle is a literary comedy about redemption and second chances, played out amid the madness of modern life.


My review

This is a very enjoyable book, with interesting characters and lots of sharp humour that’s poignant at times. It’s a tale of man versus rat race.

Melting in the Middle is an uplifting  story of second chances, both professional and domestic. I think many readers will empathise because these days career paths are hardly ever smooth. It’s heartening to see how Stephen copes with having his working life turned upside down by a takeover at the same time as adjusting to his post-divorce situation. He’s more adaptable than he thinks he is, and, although reluctantly at first, it’s true to say he eventually embraces his new circumstances and turns them to his advantage.

Stephen, simultaneously anti-hero and hero, is surrounded by equally fascinating, multi-faceted characters. The inter-relationships are vividly and convincingly portrayed.

Much to enjoy in this deceptively simple book. Probe beneath the surface a little and you discover clever complexity and a richness of social criticism and satire.

Super cover, great writing.


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Author bio

Born in Yorkshire, Andy Howden read English at Sheffield University before a career in marketing, including working for a multi-national company in London and Paris. This novel was long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize as ‘funny,poignant and uplifting’ and sprang out of a MA in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University in Twickenham. Andy lives in South West London with is wife and has two grown up children who have left home but fortunately keep popping back to see him.


Social Media Links –

Twitter: @andy_howden