Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Before We Were Yours can help.

Before We Were Yours: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Two weeks have passed since Avery talked to Trent Turner on the phone. She is driving down to Edisto Island to see him in person after her sister Missy encouraged her to take a vacation. On her way out of town, Avery stopped to visit May only to learn that she was hospitalized for an infection and hasn’t been released yet. Since their initial conversation, Trent has refused to take Avery’s phone calls, which makes Avery worry that the papers he has are some kind of blackmail. Furthermore, Avery learned from an entry in one of Judy’s appointment books that the dragonfly bracelet has something to do with Edisto, although it’s unclear what the connection is. Avery wonders if it means Judy was having an affair and used to meet her lover on Edisto. To Avery, one thing is clear: Judy wouldn’t keep a secret unless it could hurt the family somehow.
Even though Avery’s family’s wealth and power comes with a lot of privileges, it also makes them vulnerable, which is why now Avery’s worst fear is that someone could blackmail Judy. This would be particularly cruel because Judy has dementia and can no longer defend herself. This means it would be up to Avery and her parents to defend Judy, but Avery is reluctant to share her worries with them because of Wells’s illness.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery has also been researching Trent Turner. She’s learned that he’s actually Trent Turner III and the real estate business Trent now owns is a family business that he’s taken over since his grandfather’s death. Despite how nervous Avery is, she enjoys her drive to Edisto and all the happy memories it stirs up. It doesn’t take long for Avery to find Trent’s office. She pulls up and looks around with envy at the beautiful scenery surrounding the office. Avery wonders why she’s never brought Elliot to Edisto and notes that the answer “tastes bitter”: their self-imposed schedules keep them too busy, and they must keep up with those schedules to maintain their families’ reputations.
Edisto Island is clearly very meaningful to Avery, so it is peculiar that Elliot has never been there with her, especially because they’ve grown up together. Like planning their wedding, it seems that sharing the experience with Elliot wasn’t important until now, when Avery realizes that their lifestyles prevent meaningful trips together. Instead of prioritizing their relationship, this moment indicates, they have dedicated themselves to their careers and upholding their family names.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Avery walks into the office and calls out, but nobody is there. She notices a popcorn machine and goes to get some because she’s very hungry, but before she can, Trent comes in. Avery thinks he is attractive and charismatic. Avery tells him that she called him a couple of weeks ago, but Trent doesn’t remember her. While Avery watches him struggle to recall who she is, she feels “a spark of…something” and smiles, which makes her feel guilty. Avery reluctantly tells Trent she called him about Judy’s papers, knowing that he’ll be irritated with her. Trent tells Avery she’s wasting her time—not even her power of attorney for Judy is enough to make him give Avery the papers because it’s not a legal matter. Avery tells him she won’t leave until she has the papers and sits down, much to Trent’s chagrin.
In Avery’s mind, simply feeling a “spark” for someone else is some kind of betrayal of her relationship with Elliot. This shows that she takes her commitment to Elliot seriously, even if she’s unexcited about their impending wedding and is beginning to question whether they truly love each other and are getting married for the right reasons.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Trent again tries to explain that he made a promise to his grandfather and says it’s better that he doesn’t give Avery the papers. Avery threatens to sue for the papers on the grounds that they might do her family real harm. Trent tells her good luck, but Avery sees on his face that she’s not wrong that the papers might be bad for her family’s reputation. Her heart sinks as she realizes there is a dark family secret. The phone rings and Trent answers it, talking longer than normal in an evident attempt to make Avery leave. However, she stays put and when Trent gets off the phone, he tells her again that it’s no use. Still, Avery stays while Trent silently works at his computer.
Avery has already decided that the papers might be important enough to warrant a trip to Edisto, but she’s still grappling with the possibility that the information Trent has can damage her family. Perhaps even more importantly, it might damage Avery’s perception of her family. One of Avery’s major characteristics is her sense of right and wrong, which can be seen in her initial concern for May’s welfare. If her family has really committed some wrong, it would devastate her because she puts so much faith in their collective morality.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Get the entire Before We Were Yours LitChart as a printable PDF.
Before We Were Yours PDF
After a while, Trent states that Avery must be used to getting what she wants. Avery is hurt by this because she doesn’t like it when people assume her only real qualifications are her family name and pretty hair. She proudly tells Trent that she works for what she gets. He only snorts in response. Avery insinuates that Trent’s grandfather was trying to blackmail Judy. Trent is furious with Avery for implying this and the two stand up and stare at each other. Avery asks him what his grandfather wanted with Judy and Trent insists it’s not blackmail. As Avery demands the papers, someone comes into the office—it’s a game warden and Trent tells him Avery is leaving.
Both Trent and Avery find the weak spots in each other: Avery is sensitive about being perceived as a spoiled brat, and Trent is sensitive about how people perceive his grandfather. This is why they both jump to their feet as soon as Trent insinuates that Avery gets whatever she wants and Avery implies that Trent’s grandfather is a blackmailer.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Related Quotes