Title: The Remaking of Corbin Wale
Author: Roan Parrish
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 237 Pages
Category: Fantasy, Drama
At a Glance: Roan Parrish has delivered an incredible story here. The characters, the beautiful imagery, the food (I want lemon-lavender pound cake and challah so bad), and the Chanukah magic made it a fabulous read. It’s one I will go back to when I want to lose myself in a feel-good holiday book.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.
Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.
When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.
20% of all proceeds from this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.
Review: “And what is magic if not the possibility for things to happen that would otherwise be impossible?” – Roan Parrish
The Remaking of Corbin Wale was unexpected and magical. I was confident it would be good, having loved everything I’ve read from Roan Parrish previously, so I don’t mean unexpected in the sense that I was worried about whether I would like it…I mean unexpected in that it was even more unique and wondrous than I even hoped it would be. It was the perfect story to kick off my holiday season reading.
It’s difficult to describe how special and different, in a good way, Corbin is. He is so precious—Alex even describes him as precious at one point in the story—and unique. Having been called “weird” and a “freak” for pretty much his entire life, he has become accustomed to people looking at him strangely, and avoiding him. He didn’t have any real friends growing up, so he created friends for himself that he drew in his notebook and brought to life in his mind. His whole life has been those friends—Carbon, Lex, and Finnian—and his beloved dogs, including Wolf, who is also prominent in his drawings, and his aunts, whom he lived with until they died when he was fifteen. He has spent most of his time alone. Until Alex Barrow opens the new bakery. I loved Corbin’s first impression of Alex:
The man at the counter had a warm glow around him. It felt like kindness and nature and energy and something Corbin didn’t quite recognize. Something he couldn’t look away from.
As much as I adored Corbin, I think I adored Alex even more. He has come back to his hometown in Michigan after his life in New York basically went to pieces in a matter of a couple of days. As a pastry chef, he has always wanted to open his own bakery, so when the opportunity comes up to take over the lease on his parents’ old coffee shop, and bring the business he has envisioned to life, he goes for it. Alex is kind, steadfast, and strong. He’s an amazing friend—I loved, loved his best friend Gareth—and a good employer. And, he is immediately taken with the strange and beautiful man who walks into the bakery on opening day. I loved how much Alex cares for his mom, and misses his father, who has been gone for ten years, and wants to make them both proud. And, I LOVED that he wanted to recreate the joy of Chanukah that he was raised with, and the dinner event he plans, along with Gareth and Corbin, at the bakery.
The friendship and relationship that grows between Alex and Corbin is beyond beautiful. Alex was so thoughtful in every interaction he had with Corbin; he exuded kindness and patience. And, his initial reaction to Corbin was as visceral as Corbin’s was to him:
Something about Corbin called to everything in him, and though Corbin wasn’t an easy man to get to know, every time he walked through the door, it felt like things were right in Alex’s world. He felt a kind of peace and satisfaction that came from having the person you most wanted to see near you, and Alex couldn’t explain it any better than that.
The only thing standing in their way is Corbin’s belief in the Wale family curse. Supposedly anyone they loved, and who truly loved them back, died within a year. Stories passed down to Corbin by his aunts, time and time again, cemented in him this belief, this fear that he shouldn’t allow himself to get close to anyone, or anyone to get close to him. He has an idea, though, an amazing idea that would perhaps get rid of the curse…so, he starts baking. I must share with you guys this one beautiful passage, which is just one example of the gorgeous, gorgeous writing in this book:
As he mixed oil and egg with flour and salt, watching them bleed into each other, he imagined the ways he wanted his mind and Alex’s to become one, their thoughts merging. As the dough rose, he pictured rising with Alex in the early morning, soft pillows and warm arms and hot breath. As he braided the dough, he pictured the way their bodies would entwine, edges obliterated as they sank into one being in a form more beautiful than either could make apart.
Roan Parrish has delivered an incredible story here. The characters, the beautiful imagery, the food (I want lemon-lavender pound cake and challah so bad), and the Chanukah magic made it a fabulous read. It’s one I will go back to when I want to lose myself in a feel-good holiday book.
You can buy The Remaking of Corbin Wale here: