Extravagance, tradition, and public fascination surround the marriage of Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Barbara of Austria. It is 1565, and the Renaissance court is abuzz with the arrival of a new duchess, especially since it is widely rumored that the duke murdered his first wife with his own hands. Barbara’s quick mind and inquisitive spirit drive her to risk the displeasure of her forbidding new husband to determine if the whispered suspicions are true. When attempts are made on her own life, can she deny that the man she is beginning to admire might be responsible after all? Inspired by Robert Browning’s poem, The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas reveals a world of magnificence, conspiracy, and obsession.