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The Remaking of Corbin Wale

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A 2017 Riptide Holiday Charity Novel

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.

* * * * * * *

Twenty percent of all proceeds from this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.

The Russian LGBT network was founded in April 2006. It is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. They unite and develop regional initiatives, advocacy groups (at both national and international levels), and provide social and legal services.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: https://lgbtnet.org/en.

237 pages, Paperback

First published November 27, 2017

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About the author

Roan Parrish

34 books2,094 followers
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

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5 stars
1,606 (38%)
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3 stars
773 (18%)
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79 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 980 reviews
January 20, 2018

It's impossible to review The Remaking of Corbin Wale without quoting the story. The language transcends the plot; it's lyrical and truthful.

He saw the monsters that love and longing could make, and they all had human faces.

This book has a magical, ethereal quality.

Cinnamon sugar, wolfdogs, curses, witches . . .

Alex moves back to the town where he grew up and opens a bakery; it's called And Son, because it used to be his parents but now it's his. When Corbin Wale first appears, Alex is dumbstruck. He's never seen anyone more beautiful.

"And your mind. It's beautiful ... You remake the world a hundred times a day."

Corbin lives in another dimension. He's an artist and a recluse. He forgets time and place. And his drawings come to life. Corbin is creative, imaginative, visionary. He believes that names have power and that anyone he loves will die; it's his family's curse.

Corbin's past is abstract at best. I had so many questions (How did Corbin's aunts die? How did he survive? Is the curse real?), but this book doesn't provide answers. It provides possibilities.

Alex, who's a problem solver, a loyal friend, a strong, soothing presence, doesn't believe in the curse, but he believes in Corbin.

Then there's Alex's friend Gareth, who escapes his abusive husband and recreates a Chanukah feast in Alex's bakery kitchen. (I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of Gareth because his story needs to be told.)

Baking plays a big role in this story. Alex and Corbin communicate with food. Corbin burns his fear, his doubt; he pours his soul into braiding challah.

The book is told in four sections, two from Alex's POV and two from Corbin's. This is a sensual story, but it takes a very long time for the MCs to touch. Once they do, it's like a tidal wave of longing and lust.

I loved Corbin's world and Alex's beautiful acceptance. I loved that Chanukah was central to the story. And I loved the dogs, who were protective and fierce. Corbin can read their minds, just like he can sense feelings. He smells the shame and regret on Gareth and the love on Alex.

"The problem is that even if you don't touch, even if you keep things back ... the feelings are still there. Because love doesn't live in kisses and flowers and first dates. It lives in your mind, in your heart."

This is unlike any other holiday story. It's graceful and powerful, and it will seep into your dreams.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,857 reviews5,631 followers
December 19, 2017
*4.5 stars*

Lovely, just lovely. With a mix of magical realism and atmospheric romance, the story simply sang.

For those readers who are fans of Sarah Addison Allen, this book feels very similar in style, if a bit darker (perhaps a bit of Alice Hoffman mixed in). I didn't quite know what to expect going into it, but I was very pleasantly surprised.

The Remaking of Corbin Wale has garnered quite a bit of hype, and I couldn't pass up the chance to see if it stood up to the rave reviews. It really was a unique story, and all fans of atypical MCs should give this one a go. I have a weakness for a MC in romance who is outside the box, so to speak, so Corbin with all of his facets really worked for me.

The romance is slow-burn, though there is that pull of connection right from the start. It is a very intense story and it feels important as you read it, so that draw between the two MCs is almost hypnotic.

The story is also unexpectedly hot with some scenes that knocked my socks off. I wouldn't say that you should read this book for the sexy bits, but if you want some sex scenes that go beyond the norm and have a slightly kinky edge, you'll be in for a treat.

I also think that Roan Parrish really nailed the side characters. I could use a spin-off story with a couple of them (you'll know who), and I was intrigued and engaged the entire time.

Also, I finally got my yearly Hanukkah story! I had no idea going into it, but a Jewish MC was a great little treat, and it warmed my heart to read this story right as Hanukkah was beginning. Though I wouldn't say that the story was focused on the holiday, it was included, and I thought that was a nice touch.

Roan Parrish did a fabulous job creating a story that skirts the boundaries between magical realism and contemporary romance and crafting unique characters that will stick with me for a long time to come.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Judith.
724 reviews2,615 followers
November 25, 2017
4.5 Stars.

The Remaking of Corbin Wale is an unique story.I've read a few books by this Author and enjoyed them-but,this is something completely different.The writing is special,and,captivating,the story has a wonderful,almost,magical feel about it.

Alex Barrow has returned to his home town after his life in New York imploded in a matter of days.When his mother asks him to take over the running of the family cafe he sees his dream and sets about turning it into a Bakery.On opening day he catches sight of a beautiful young man who seems to be lost in his own world.

Corbin Wale is different.Shunned by people from a young age,he's lead a lonely life.People have labelled him a freak and he thinks he is one.He truly believes his family is cursed if they love someone....so he escapes into his own world where he has people..a friend?,a lover?,.....someone who is there for him when he needs them.

Alex and Corbin are drawn to each other from their first encounter.It's not insta lust or love-it's almost as if an external force brought them together.This is an extremely slow burn which worked so well.Corbin sees the world differently from others-he sees beauty in simple things and reading the story from his pov was an absolute joy.No one came close to really understanding Corbin....until Alex.

Both men have pasts but in the end it's,quite simply,a beautiful love story.

Highly Recommended...

An Arc of The Remaking of Corbin Wale was kindly provided to DirtyBooksObsession in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews are posted on DirtyBooksObsession

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Profile Image for Shile (Hazard's Version) on-hiatus.
1,090 reviews793 followers
December 16, 2018
5++++++ Corbin stars

The fire crackled and Stick wheezed peacefully in sleep. The wind outside rustled dry leaves and the air inside smelled of pine and dried sage and tomato from his dinner. He was warm and comfortable, and he lost himself in the world that unfolded in his sketchbook.

- This book is magical.

-The chemistry was so on point, the sex so damn hot!

- The slow burn was fun to read.

-Corbin is the best MC ever.

-The writing is stellar and poetic without going overboard.

-One of the best holiday stories i have ever read.

- We love Stick! what a perfect dog name.


Profile Image for Snjez.
734 reviews380 followers
December 24, 2020
4.5 stars

This was nothing like other books I've read by this author.

It's a very unique and heartwarming story with beautiful writing and magical atmosphere.
The romance was very slow, but I enjoyed every part of it.

The characters are amazing, especially Corbin. I have a soft spot for unique and a little strange characters.

And yes to Gareth's story!

Re-read 9/2019:I really enjoyed the audiobook. Chris Chambers' narration was perfect for this story. I still hope we'll get Gareth's story one day!

Re-read 12/2020 via audiobook
Profile Image for Renée.
1,037 reviews321 followers
November 20, 2017
~4.5 stars!~

Love was a curse. No love was a curse.
Solitude was a cure. Solitude was a torment.
Distance was safety. Distance was crushing.

Every once in a while, I'll come across a story that's special. Unique. Unlike anything I've ever read that reaches inside me and truly resonates with my brain and leaves goosebumps on my heart. It happened with Winter Oranges. It happened with In The Absence Of Light.

And it happened here.

I just don't know that I can articulate why this book pushed so many of my buttons.

Told in alternating POVs, this is Alex and Corbin's story. Alex moves back home after needing a restart button on his life - to open his own bakery in his Michigan hometown. And Corbin has lived in this town his whole life. Been shunned his whole life. For being weird. For being a freak.

Theirs is a slow burn, friends to lovers, romance. But it's so much more, so much deeper.

Corbin has secrets. Family secrets that hold him back.

"[...]Now I'm only me. I'll always be only me."

And Alex has gone through life never once feeling like Corbin makes him feel. He'll do anything to crack Corbin's shell and get close.

But more than any of that, he wanted Corbin to talk to him. He wanted to be included in the cocoon of him, invited into Corbin's world.

The two men bond over a shared love of baking, and of dogs. And of patience and understanding.

They both need each other, but are so hesitant to scare the other away.

It was like desperation but with none of the darkness.

When I say the writing was stellar, I can't tell you how much of an understatement that is. Parrish executed this story flawlessly. It was so evocative. I was in awe of her talent, and reread many passages multiple times, just to let it wrap around my heart once more. To feel it one more time.

Read this book. That is all.

"You remake the world a hundred times a day."
Profile Image for Shin Mon Thway.
663 reviews1,481 followers
September 29, 2019
Okay, I can see why this book was such a fan favorite among my fellow reviewers. 😊 Wow! Just wow! 😱 What a beautiful and profound book it is! 💜 The remaking of Corbin Wale is such a lyrical and poetic book that took my breath away. 🥰 I don’t even know how to describe this book. 😅

Alex’s life changed 180 degree in the span of 48 hours. 2 days ago, he had a boyfriend, a prestigious job as a pastry chef and a comfortable life. Now he’s back in his small hometown in Michigan finally taking over his parents’ business and opening a small cafe of his dreams. And his life changed one more for 360 degrees when Corbin Wale walked into his “And Son” cafe. Corbin is unlike anyone Alex has ever seen in his life, beautiful, ethereal, artistic and otherworldly. And Alex is determined to win the infamous recluse Corbin’s heart. Corbin has been living in another dimension all his life. He finds time as a difficult concept to grasp and people exhausting to socialize. Plus, the Wales are cursed. And he doesn’t want anyone he will come to love to become the victim of Wales’ curse. But Alex defies everything Corbin ever believed in. Alex makes Corbin want to be brave. Alex gives Corbin hope and a chance at happiness and love. The question is if Corbin will be courageous enough to grasp his only chance at a fairytale ending. 😌

It’s extremely difficult to explain what this book is about. 😅 This is not exactly paranormal but not just a contemporary as well. To see the world in the eye of Corbin Wale was a beautiful, unique and ethereal experience. And boy, some quotes in this book was so profound and wise it made me tear up. ❤️ I loved Alex too. His tenacity to protect and love and care for those who he cares and the way he made Corbin believe .. it was an alluring and bewitching love story. And Chris Chambers did a stellar job narrating this story. His narration was lyrical, poetic, poignant and enchanting. 🥰 I’m sure this is one of Roan Parrish’s masterpieces because I have never read/listened anything quite like this before. 👏 I’m one satiated, happy listener. 😌

5 Love has the power of magic to make you believe stars

Audio rating

Story - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Narration - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Performance - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Overall - 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,387 reviews651 followers
December 13, 2017

***5 Stars***

“Because love doesn’t live in kisses and flowers and first dates. It lives in your mind, in your heart.”

I LOVED THIS BOOK!! I want to propose marriage to this book. I want this book to move in with me and share in a 30 year fixed mortgage. I want this book to meet my mom.

“You remake the world a hundred times a day.”

How can I come up with words to describe the pure magic and beauty that is this book?! This book owned every part of me while reading. Every words served a purpose, every scene evoking an emotion that connected me even more to the characters...ever page fed my soul.

Full review to come. I'm flying too high and don't want to come back down to earth to find the words to adequately express my love for this book. On the 2017 favorites list it goes!!
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,132 reviews432 followers
January 23, 2021
4.5 Stars

Whimsical and spiritual with a touch of magic, this was a weighted love story for the holiday season!

Rest assured, when I say weighted I don’t necessarily mean dark. Corbin and Alex are pulled to each other like no other. Their feelings and the lure between them, is palpable and hangs thick in the air. The longing is great, but things aren’t always that easy.

Corbin is different, and he’s burdened with some things that don’t allow him to hope for love and companionship no matter how desperately he wants it with Alex. Alex in turn, is drawn to Corbin like no other. He wants Corbin so badly, almost obsessively, and meticulously makes a connection with the beautiful eccentric man. As days, and then weeks pass, Alex comes to know Corbin’s special language and only wants to call Corbin his.

It doesn’t hurt at all that Alex is one sexy fucker, a great protector with a heady subtle masculinity, whose gentle giant self is embodied with patience and kindness. Corbin in contrast, is a soulful artist whose loneliness and isolation is starkly felt, and though he has a painful past, Corbin is never weak.

I obviously really enjoyed this. It’s infused with the holiday spirit which always lends that feeling that all odds can be beat. I also loved the bakery cafe setting because who doesn’t want to read and salivate over carby goodness while witnessing two people deservedly get their wishes fulfilled?

This is a slow slow burn, but Parrish doesn’t torture you unnecessarily, rather urging you along to want more and more of these two lovely men finding everything in each other. She delivers, and this for sure, is a wonderfully beautiful, memorable story.
December 16, 2018
Audio – 4.5 stars
Story – 5 stars

Yes!! This was one of the most beautiful and magical holiday stories I’ve read.

Corbin stole my heart, and I couldn't help but adore the heck out of him. He definitely gets the love, but so does Alex for being the patient and protective man Corbin needed. He accepted Corbin's uniqueness and loved him for it. I loved these two together!!

Now is there going to be a story for Gareth and Orin??? There’s as story there, and I’m ready for it!
Profile Image for Diana.
533 reviews18 followers
January 7, 2018
4.5 Strawberry Stars

I can count on one hand, the books that I have read over many years that have stuck with me. A few a more recent, while others are from my childhood. This book, I can definitely say, will stick with me for a long time.

Alex Barrow just returned to his hometown in Michigan, after living several years as a sous chef in New York City. His mother turns over the family coffee house to him, and he happily turns it into his life dream, his very own bakery. On opening day, he is drawn to a familiar face he remembers from school, Corbin Wale. He also remembers the way the kids tormented Corbin, calling him a wierdo.

Even though the world sees Corbin as different, Alex is fascinated by the way Corbin lives in his own magical world and the beautiful way he sees and feels things. It isn’t long before Alex feels himself falling for Corbin.

”Because love doesn’t live in kisses and flowers and first dates. It lives in your mind, in your heart. The problem is that I already love you.”~~Alex

Corbin lives alone with his dogs, and believes he must stay alone. He wants Alex, but he has a secret that he thinks will destroy them. With Alex by his side, can Corbin be strong enough to alter his so called “destiny”?

I have read several books by Roan Parrish, but this by far, is my favorite. The way the writing is so poetic, almost lyrical, it is definitely something you must experience for yourself.

”You remake the world a hundred times a day”~~Alex

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Jewel.
1,794 reviews243 followers
November 20, 2017
4.5 Stars

"You remake the world a hundred times a day.

The Remaking of Corbin Wale is a story made of magic. It's roots steeped in metaphor and fashioned and baked with love. I savored every delicious word.

Corbin Wale is cursed, or so he believes, anyway. Everyone treats him like he's a freak and Corbin believes they're right. Corbin has led such a solitary life, it just broke me. He believes that he can't get close to anyone. That everything he touches is tainted. Wrong. But Corbin has such a huge heart and his imagination is vast, so he took to drawing to keep him company. Many of the characters he drew became his friends and companions, and he wouldn't let himself hope for more. Until Alex.

Alex Barrow just moved back to Ann Arbor to regroup after losing his job in New York and having his relationship end all within a space of 48 hours. It was like the fates were telling him he needed to take a step back and reevaluate his life. So he did. He moved back home and took over the family run cafe and turned it into a bakery. Alex finally feels right again, especially when he meets Corbin Wale. Alex needs to be needed and he's never found that. He's protective of those he cares about and Corbin activates that instinct in him unlike anyone ever has.

There was so much about this story that just burrowed deep in my being and stayed there. While the story really didn't strike me as paranormal or fantasy, at all, it still felt a bit magical. Otherworldly. The way Corbin saw the world was unique and I am in awe of him. But no one, until Alex, saw Corbin at all. Not really.

The Remaking of Corbin Wale is about reshaping who you are. It's about refashioning your world view. It's about needing someone and being needed in return. It's about love.

There was more in the world than he’d ever been told. And there was less.

ARC of The Remaking of Corbin Wale was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,440 followers
December 4, 2017
3.5 Stars!

This just wasn't my type of book.

It wasn't bad. But I found it a bit slow. And a bit odd.

But I liked Gareth. I would read about him and Orin.

And the writing was good. It just wasn't my style. I got bored.
Profile Image for Kati *☆・゚ readsRomance.
523 reviews138 followers
April 24, 2023
3.5*** stars

Gawd I really don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade and I know this is a well loved book but I was so damn bored with this story I almost didn’t make it till the end. I guess Chris Chambers reading it to me helped a bit with that but not much.

There wasn’t really anything wrong with this book. It’s a beautifully written and heartfelt slow-burn romance with Corbin as such a unique and lovable main character. And although the unkindness of people towards Corbin broke my heart I struggled to get invested in the characters and their story in the first place —

And that’s why: I was so confused for the majority of this book . I guess it was intentional but the whole time I had no clue what was going on. What was "wrong" with Corbin and wether or not he was some kind of magical creature or if it was all in his head because he’s been fed all these beliefs his whole life. And because I didn’t have the context and didn’t get the answers to these questions (like at all) I stopped caring altogether.

Maybe I was supposed to read more between the lines to clue myself in but this was one of those books I really would’ve needed it to be straight on the nose, otherwise I wouldn’t get it. And I really didn’t. So, to all of you who loved this book and Corbin & Alex and now stumble upon my review and have to read how I wasn’t able to understand the beauty of this story, I’m sorry. ♡

*this audio was free with my audible subscription
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,365 reviews39 followers
December 30, 2020
Reread December 2020

I guess I needed something a bit magical. And this delivered on all levels.
Thoroughly enjoyed this all over again! (even if the reread took me longer than I anticipated! 😁)

Original review:

Absolutely beautiful.
In so many ways.

Alex and Corbin are both amazing characters.
Alex for his big heart, his compassion and understanding and incredible patience with Corbin.
Corbin for showing us the workings of an amazing and unusual mind and how special love can be. I also silently wept at how he came to be who he is. At his vast loneliness. At the low expectations he has from people and life. At his isolation from the real world.

The intricate link between food and love and magic
Cooking and baking always make me happy, and I adored the way Roan Parrish linked the three themes (food/love/magic) throughout the book. Baking takes on a deeper meaning, becomes a metaphor for so much more! Truly wonderful writing!

I (Alex) was transfixed by that moment (his gran making pizza). That moment where things that were completely different came together to be one thing. It was like magic. "

Corbin's journey
of learning that he is not just a 'freak' who is doomed to a life of loneliness, but a person of value and worth is breathtaking, emotionally intense and ultimately touching.

Tell me. They were the magic words. The ones that made Corbin believe his thoughts were welcome, believe his desires and fantasies were cherished, believe his suggestions were valued. Tell me had the power to turn him inside out. And Alex kept every secret, every word, safe.

Themes of dominance
Brilliantly and subtly explored (and no, this does not anywhere equate to BDSM, if you might wonder), it shows us Alex's need to be the one in charge and be the 'fixer' of things, which is exactly what Corbin needs to function better.
Both men find exactly what they need in each other - in life and in bed. And oh, the slow burn until they get there is wonderfully achy and beautiful. As for the times they have sex - it felt incredible intimate and almost magical/mystical the way Corbin describes his experience.

This is a book you don't want to miss. I felt the urgent need to re-read it as soon as I'd finished.

Highly recommended.

Thank you, Josy, for this wonderful gift!
Profile Image for Elsa Bravante.
1,118 reviews173 followers
December 3, 2017
Roan Parrish es una de mis autoras favoritas en el MM, aunque haya tenido algunos problemas en el editado de sus libros, cada vez son menos, y siempre puedes contar con los sentimientos a flor de piel en sus historias. Cuando vi que iba a escribir una novella de Navidad no estaba muy segura de si era algo que iría bien con su estilo. Pero Roan ha conseguido ser fiel a sí misma y al mismo tiempo escribir un romance navideño lleno de magia, amor y ternura.
Dos personajes contrapuestos que se complementan, Alex personifica la seguridad, la aceptación, la realidad, la solidez, mientras que Corbin, el maravilloso Corbin, es la inseguridad, la magia, lo etéreo, la imaginación. La autora entremezcla los dos mundos igual que Alex, pastelero, mezcla los ingredientes para hacer un challa, consiguiendo un libro lleno de significado, no es simplemente una novella navideña, nos cuenta cosas, nos enseña cosas. Todo eso con Hanukkah de fondo, me encanta.
Un libro de sensaciones que te permite saborear lo que cocinan, olerlo, igual que oler el bosque, que me ha llenado de emociones. Muy muy recomendable.
Profile Image for Moony Eliver.
305 reviews160 followers
December 20, 2019
Feel free to move along, y'all. The only thing to see here is that I’m pretty sure I’ve lost all propriety and reason when it comes to Roan Parrish's glorious creations. That, and I’ll be spending 2 days with this book every December until the end of time.

I’m finding myself in an unusual position, because I’m sitting here with zero desire to dissect this magically delicious book or the enchanting characters in it. I just want to bask in the blissful feelings (and completely dilated pupils) that it left me with.

Maybe after next year’s read, I can write a real review. Peace.
Profile Image for Christelle.
808 reviews
December 11, 2017
Well, that’s different from the “Middle of Somewhere” series and I really enjoyed it.

After a twist in life, Alex came back to his Mom’s house and opened a bakery. That’s where he met a special customer : Corbin. Corbin lives alone, creating fantasies in his mind to deal with the world and he’s afraid to love. But the pull between Alex and Corbin is like a fate and both can see how beautiful the other is in his own way.

It’s a slow burn, quiet, evocative and romantic where loneliness is being burned to ashes to let love conquer any curses and prejudices. I may have shed a tear or two for Corbin.

**THANK YOU, “Nippy Elf” for this very romantic and magic gift. Merry Christmas to you <3**
Profile Image for Trio.
2,976 reviews171 followers
December 18, 2017
Roan Parrish brings her A-game with The Remaking of Corbin Wale. An absolutely stunning novel, the prose is fluid and expressive, the characters are complex, and a positive message of hope is woven throughout. This one is so magical it gave me tingles and I was wishing it would never end.

Everything in Alex’s life has fallen apart so he moves back to his hometown to open his dream bakery and hopefully get a fresh start. From the moment Corbin steps into his shop all Alex can think about is seeing him again. He obsesses over every connection they make and longs for more. Parrish does a great job of building Alex’s desire for Corbin with anticipation that is just wonderful.

The sections of the novel told from Corbin’s point-of-view allow us to learn more about him. Used to being shunned by the people in town, Corbin has created his own world. His imaginary friends have become real to him and he illustrates their stories in his special notebook. Corbin is very attracted to Alex but has been told his whole life that he is cursed, if he lets someone into his life they will die, so Corbin has resigned himself to never finding love.

The attraction between these two is clear from the start and builds steadily over the course of the novel. The Remaking of Corbin Wale is the best kind of slow-burn romance, leisurely and steamy with very little angst. The anticipation I felt for these two to get together paled in comparison to the sparks that flew when they finally did! The first time Alex and Corbin go to bed together has got to be one of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever read, and is made even more so thanks to the painstaking build-up.

There’s so much more to Corbin’s life that I’d love to know about: How did he survive after his aunts died? What’s the story surrounding their deaths? Give me more details about this curse he lives under! And I could read a whole novel just about the characters Corbin creates…Parrish is leaving us space to wonder and interpret and relate to our own experiences.

The Remaking of Corbin Wale is a hard story to get out of my mind. I was transfixed by the beautiful, hypnotic quality of Parrish’s words. I loved the magical, mystical concepts of fate and chance and creating hope for the future. I’ll be so glad if this is the first book in a new series, and we don’t have to wait long for the next one!

a copy of The Remaking of Corbin Wale was provided by NetGalley for the purpose of this review
Profile Image for Annery.
941 reviews122 followers
August 29, 2020
Color me seduced, swayed, and surprised by Roan Parrish's dreamy, story. Why surprised? Because I thought I was way over magical realism, whimsy, and faery tales, and here I am, utterly invested in the fate an almost elfin-like woodland creature. Okay. I exaggerate. But that is the vibe.

Corbin Wale is a highly sensitive and artistic man, who from childhood was dealt shitty cards. He was raised by relatives who, though well intentioned, didn't give him the tools to live in the world, which in turn made him the favorite target of bullies, and left him isolated in a world of his own. Alex Barrow is a baker come home to regroup after a sojourn in NYC kitchens and the breakup of a relationship, which he doesn't really lament. He transforms his parents old cafe into a bakery and one of his first customers is Corbin. The spark is immediate, true, and I believed every word.

Roan has a way with words, almost poetic, but not precious, that makes the story have a beat of its own, and Chris Chambers is a masterful interpreter of it. Go ahead, take a chance and enjoy this Hanukkah story, full of magic, or as we call it: LOVE.

ps. Be prepared to be hungry.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,195 reviews395 followers
December 8, 2017
What a magical story.

Alex Barrow moves back to his hometown after he loses his job and breaks up with his boyfriend. He reopens his mother’s coffee shop and turns it into a bakery.

Alex notices that a young man comes in regularly to just sit and draw. Alex finds out that this man is Corbin Wale, and Alex vaguely remembers him from high school.

There is a dreamy quality about Corbin that makes him different from other people. Alex remembers how much Corbin got picked on in high school for being different like that. But Ales can’t help but be intrigued by the pretty young man.

Corbin knows he cannot let people close. He knows anyone who gets close gets hurt. But the kind new owner of the bakery does seem nice. And Alex does seem persistent to become his friend.

The two do become friends, despite Corbin’s attempts to keep his distance. When Alex finds out Corbin doesn’t have a job anymore, he hires him to help in the kitchen.

But both men seem too scared to admit their feelings for each other….

This was a wonderful story filled with magic. Not magic magic, but magic of the real world. Every day magic, if you just look close enough.

I especially liked being in Corbin’s head. His mind was a beautiful place to be. He saw the world as a magical place and he felt so deeply about everything. The way he smelled thing, felt energy, saw bonds between people. I think we should all just stop with what we’re doing sometimes and just see and feel like Corbin.

And Alex was perfect for Corbin. Alex was patient and kind and he never dismissed Corbin’s way of seeing the world. Alex just understood Corbin.

The romance was a slow one and first there was friendship, then love and finally sex. I love relationships that start like that. I always feel that it has a more solid foundation for the rest of the (physical) relationship.

I do have to say that halfway I got the feeling that the story was paused in some way, I felt as if something should have happened then, but it didn’t. But that was just a minor niggle I had. The rest was wonderful.

Profile Image for Elena.
835 reviews87 followers
December 27, 2019
2.5 stars

Ignore me for a minute, this will be a dissenting opinion and I’m only writing it down as a future reminder for myself.

It wasn’t the weirdness or the flowery writing that didn’t work, I actually liked those, with some exceptions ().
What sank this book for me was that I couldn’t feel the MCs and their relationship. I was told who and what they were, how they met and supposedly fell in love, but that’s just how it stayed. I had to believe it was so, because I couldn’t feel it for myself, they never jumped out of the page for me and their connection felt insta-love at best. I simply couldn’t see why they loved each other.
I wasn’t expecting it. I should’ve fallen in love with this book, especially with Corbin. On paper, everything was just right for it to happen, but it didn’t because the author didn’t make me. I found Gareth, the secondary character, more interesting and real than the two MCs (what happened with Gareth, by the way? Did I miss something? ).
And considering that this is Roan Parrish, an author who gave me some truly amazing books and couples, it really stings.
Profile Image for Jennifer☠Pher☠.
2,727 reviews230 followers
December 22, 2017
I really had no idea. I think this is one of the first Holiday books that came across my feed and the author and the cover just drew me in.

Without even knowing anything I seemed to have saved the best for last. Well, not last, but we are surely running out of time, yes?

I had no idea what I was getting into with this one.

This book was pure magic.

No really, it was.

I never in a million years would have thought that I'd be adding a Holiday read to my favorites of the year but there is no other place for this book but on that shelf.

I could read this all over again.

Pure magic.
Profile Image for Meags.
2,108 reviews372 followers
December 18, 2021
4.5 Stars

I’m late to this party, but I’m so glad I finally made it!

This story was, in a word, COMPELLING.

Although a contemporary piece, this story carried an ethereal quality, both in the writing and in the plot, that made it feel just a little bit magical.

Lonely and a misfit his whole life, Corbin believes he is cursed. He believes, like generations before him, that anyone he falls in love with will die within a year, so he’s spent his entire life avoiding such attachments, keeping to himself, living in the woods with his rabble of wild dogs for companionship.

When Alex moves home after a long stint in New York, he inherits his mother’s shop and revamps it into the dine-in bakery he’s always thought was an impossible dream. It’s there, every day, that Corbin comes to sit, ponder life and draw his marvelous (and very real to him) creations. Alex is lost in love at first sight.

Slowly, over the lead up through Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas, Corbin and Alex get to know each other and can’t help but fall in love, which is helped along through doubled proximity when Corbin takes a job working as Alex’s baking assistant.

These two were inevitable, as much as Corbin tries to stay detached… for Alex’s own sake. But, through the magic of food and baking with love, Corbin begins to turn his luck around, trying with all his might, to break the curse one baked good at a time.

I loved how these two communicated. Corbin was a hard nut to crack, seemingly living in his own world half the time, but Alex is ever the steadfast companion, always listening and never judging. Corbin was a very lucky man to be loved and cared for by someone as kind and wonderful as Alex, and Alex, seeing through all of Corbin’s eccentricities, was a lucky guy himself, for finding such an extraordinary and precious heart to love as Corbin’s.

This was a really unique story and one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. If you’re looking for something a little different, a little magical this Christmas, this is the story for you!
Profile Image for Ele.
1,274 reviews40 followers
November 25, 2017
-4.5 stars-
"I’ve never felt that about anyone before. It’s like a place inside him is screaming my name, and I just want to answer it with everything."

Magical, whimsical, etheral, unworldly and deeply romantic, The Remaking of Corbin Wale is unlike anything you 've ever read.

This is a story about so many things, but most of all it's about remaking and reinventing yourself. Everyone in this book gets a second chance! Even the secondary characters.

Corbin Wale...you 'll stay with me for ever. He is the weird artist, the outcast, the "freak" with the most beautiful mind.

Alex gets a second chance too when he comes back to his hometown to take over his mom's coffee shop. Alex needs to be needed, and nobody needs him more than Corbin. What he didn't expect was how much he'd end up needing Corbin too.
"The remaking of Corbin Wale was a constant overturning, like the ocean tides. The remaking of Alex Barrow had been far less tempestuous. It had been a deepening, an underscoring."

There is A LOT of slow burn and UST. There is an amazing and real connection forming between Corbin and Alex before the fireworks finally explode. Everything in this book has a dreamy quality. Even the sex.
" Corbin's potent imagination often turned sex into something transcendent and magical, and Alex treasured those times."

The writing is a thing of beauty, I don't even know the amount of talent it takes to make words tell this kind of story.

There are magical baking sessions, dogs, characters that leap off the pages, and intriguing friends in need of their own story.

If you want a holiday story without the Thanksgiving and Christmas brouhaha, but with all the season's magic, this one's for you. If you don't, well...read it anyway. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Gustaf.
1,413 reviews127 followers
May 7, 2023
This book is something special all together. I don't know what to call it except beautiful. Every single thing about this book is beautiful.

My heart broke for Corbin and then slowly healed again as the story progressed. I'll come back to this review when I have had some time to progress it. I have so many thoughts, it's all a mess in my head right now.

Reread January 2022:
Can I just say that this is one of my all time favorite books. I just want to live in the world Roan created here.

Reread May 2023:
Okay but seriously, I love this book more every time I read it and I already thought this book was pretty special. The story of Corbin and Alex is slow and gentle. It’s beautiful and magical. Its one of my all time favorite reads, both from this author and in general.
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,167 reviews260 followers
November 26, 2017

The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish drew me in from the first page. There was a quiet, poetic, magical feel to the story. I took my time reading it; never wanting it to end.

It's the story of two men who need each other. One man has recently moved back home, and the other is the town's pariah. Alex and Corbin are instantly drawn to one another- like kismet. Little by little, they get to know each other and what ensues is a beautifully written slow burn romance.

Some highlights:

-The POV changes. The story is told from both men's POV, and they alternate seamlessly allowing us to each man's thoughts and feelings while moving the story along at a steady pace.

-Relationship development. Their love is built on patience and understanding.

-The writing is poignant and flawless. Every once in a while you come across a story that is special, and this is one of them.

There's no way that I can do this book any justice, so all say is: read it.

5+ Stars

Profile Image for Josy.
937 reviews3 followers
July 14, 2018
Look what I got!! The lovely Jewel sent me an early Christmas present!! Thank you, Jewel <3


~ 4.5 stars ~

This is a beautifully written, captivating book with an almost dreamlike quality to it. Told from both MC's POVs it struck me how well the writing and the choice of words reflected both characters who see and experience the world very differently. I'm sure that's the case in many books but for some reason, I really noticed it while reading this book.

The romance is slow-burn and tender but also scorching hot with a tiny bit of kink thrown in. Even if kinky sex isn't your thing you don't need to be worried. It didn't overwhelm the story. It was just another facet of how right both men are for each other, how well they complete each other. Their feelings for each other are palpable and I didn't doubt their connection for one second.

If the author decides to give the secondary characters their own story, I will be among the first to read it.
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