Published in 1902, „The Valley of Decision” is Edith Wharton’s first full length novel set in late 18th century Italy. In it, Odo Valsecca, a young Italian raised by peasants, is plucked from poverty and dropped into the lap of luxury as the newly named heir to his cousin, a duke. It is the time leading up to the French revolution, and Europe swirls with conflicting factions and ideologies, some trying to prop up the feudal and religious traditions that empowered them, and others seeking a new way. Meanwhile, in France, a revolution is brewing... Forced to choose between conflicting loyalties – those to the forces of social reform with which he allied himself before he came to power, or those of the feudal tradition to which he belongs by blood – Odo must define himself.