About The Barbosa Legacy


I found inspiration for The Barbosa Legacy on a trip to Brazil in 1997 when I was doing  research for Farewell Rio.   I was taken to dinner at Rio de Janeiro’s exclusive Yacht Club by a member who, to raise funds for the resistance to the military dictatorship, robbed banks at gun point.  We became friends.  He told me breath-taking stories about his life in the resistance.  His wife, he said, had been married three times, each time to a politically-inspired bank robber.  She acted as lookout for her first two husbands.  Many Brazilians have lives with unexpected twists like that.  A newspaper reporter who was a friend of mine in 1967 participated in the kidnapping the American ambassador in 1969.

Over time I found that I could borrow events that happened far away from Brazil and transform them into story material.  During the summer of 1998, for example, when my husband and I were in Rome (he was studying Italian and I was studying architecture) we befriended four spinster sisters.  Because their father had gambled away their family’s vast land holdings in Southern Italy, they were reduced to scratching out their livings as university professors.  Their story also inspired part of the plot of The Barbosa Legacy.

In a sense, I based my first novel, Farewell Rio, on some of my own experiences, at least to the extent that the protagonist, Kate Lawrence, is an American poet who has adventures in Rio de Janeiro during the late 1960s — although her love story is not my own.  This time around, in The Barbosa Legacy, I decided to challenge myself to write in the voice of a Brazilian man.


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