Return to Your Skin

Written by Luz Gabás Noel Hughes (trans.)
Review by Janice Ottersberg

In the 21st century, Brianda is a working professional in Madrid whose hectic life is unraveling with panic attacks and strange dreams. She takes time away to recover in the country with her aunt in the small village of Tiles, where her family has deep roots that go back hundreds of years. Because of her interest in the history of the place, she discovers an ancestor in the 16th century whose name she bears, Brianda of the House of Lubich.

Corso is a lone wolf working to restore Lubich, which has been owned by his family for centuries. When Brianda and Corso meet, she feels a surreal and intense connection to this mysterious man. She is also drawn to Lubich House. It feels like a part of her, and she knows secrets and past details about it that are inexplicable. Shadows of remembrances haunt the edges of her consciousness.

Brianda tries hypnosis, hoping to recover her emotional health. Hypnosis transports her to 1585, when Lubich is her family home and Corso is also part of her life. They endure strife and war, the Inquisition, and brutal witch-hunting. Corso and Brianda’s love, which began in 1585, has defied death to be revived in 2013.

The novel shifts back and forth between both centuries. The 21st-century storyline is well done, with Brianda and Corso gradually becoming aware of their connection and learning of their historical past. However, I always looked forward to returning to the 16th-century characters and storyline. The author made it easy for me to suspend logic and believe in reincarnation. This is a good historical romance between two people across two lifetimes and an enjoyable read.