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 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Avery walks into the empty cottage on Edisto Island and is overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia. She’s on the phone with her uncle, talking to him about how often Judy brought him and Wells to the cottage when they were kids. Avery’s uncle tells her that Judy usually went to Edisto by herself—it was her favorite place to write an anonymous society column, which surprises Avery. Avery’s uncle suddenly asks why Avery is asking so many questions, so she tells him she just regrets not asking Judy more questions before she was diagnosed with dementia. Avery hangs up the phone and thinks about the conversation. She decides Trent Turner might not be holding blackmail, but she is still suspicious that there’s a dark secret.
Avery has chosen not to share her concerns with her parents because she doesn’t want to add a new stress on top of the nursing home scandal and Wells’s illness. However, the fact that she won’t share her concerns with her uncle either sends the message that she’s also afraid of what her family might say if they find out she’s looking for a family secret or has any reason to believe that there is one.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Avery tosses around theories about what the papers Trent Turner has for Judy might be while she gets ready to take a shower. Just as she’s getting ready to get in the shower, however, she remembers what her uncle said about Judy’s writings and decides to search the cottage for them. Avery remembers that there’s an old typewriter in one of the rooms and that whatever Judy last typed on it will be imprinted on the ribbon. Avery pulls the ribbon out and sees the last lines of a letter to Trent, meaning Trent senior. Judy expresses her frustration with not knowing more about the records from the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, which immediately sets off alarm bells in Avery’s mind. Avery connects this to the picture in May’s room of a pregnant woman and wonders if the woman is a relative who gave up her baby to the TCHS.
Avery discovers Judy’s interest in the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Notably, the doctor in the Prelude mentioned that there was a woman in Memphis, Tennessee who could help replace the distraught grandfather’s stillborn granddaughter. This could indicate that the baby Avery believes was given up is in some way connected to the family in the Prelude.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery realizes that the papers the younger Trent has probably shed more light on Judy’s interest in the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Even though it’s midnight, Avery grabs her phone and calls Trent. When he answers, he’s groggy and Avery immediately launches into questions about the TCHS and asks why Judy was interested in it. Trent is a little irritated, but Avery begs him for answers. He tells her that he can’t tell her—not just because of the promise to his grandfather, but because he himself hasn’t read the papers. Avery pleads with him to tell her what the papers must be about. Trent goes silent for a moment before telling her to come over before he changes his mind. Avery tells him she’ll be right there (Trent only lives four houses down) and darts out the door.
Trent’s sudden willingness to give Avery the papers meant for Judy reflects his own growing interest in the case. Although he takes his promise to his grandfather seriously, Trent evidently wasn’t really interested in what the papers might say until Avery started asking about them. This could reflect his growing interest in Avery due to the “spark” they experienced when they first met face-to-face.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
As Avery is walking to Trent’s, Elliot calls to tell her about a conversation he had with Bitsy—she’s anxious to have grandchildren and Elliot jokingly says Allison should let Bitsy babysit the triplets to “cure her” of her baby fever. Even though Avery knows he’s joking, his words sting because she loves her nephews and she realizes that Elliot might never want kids. Elliot changes the subject to Avery’s weekend at the beach. She jokes that Leslie will hunt her down if she doesn’t go home soon and Elliot reminds Avery that she is home to be seen in public and Leslie’s just trying to help. Avery wants to tell Elliot she returned home to talk care of her dad but knows he won’t understand because he’s such an “achievement-oriented person.” They say goodbye and Avery enjoys the scenery as she continues her walk to Trent’s cottage.
The conversation between Elliot and Avery reveals that even though they are about to get married, they struggle to really understand each other. Presumably, Elliot would never have made that joke about Avery’s nephews if he knew it would hurt her feelings, but she doesn’t tell him that it does, either. Nor does she voice her concern that Elliot’s attitude towards children might mean he doesn’t want to have any, even though Avery does because she loves kids. Furthermore, Elliot doesn’t sympathize with the idea that Avery would return home just to care for her father, which shows that Elliot himself is likely not a very warm or emotional person.
Themes
Personal Identity 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.medium
Avery walks up to the back porch of Trent’s cottage and he opens the door before she can knock. Avery apologizes for calling him so late and asks again how their grandparents are connected. Trent tells her that his grandfather might have been doing a job for Judy. Avery asks him what that means, and Trent says his grandfather was a “finder” of people.
Trent’s revelation combined with Judy’s interest in the TCHS seems to support Avery’s budding belief that Judy was looking for someone—probably a relative—who was given up for adoption long ago.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon