Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Before We Were Yours: Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The folder Trent gives Avery is thin, so she knows there aren’t many papers in it. She wants to open it before he changes his mind but decides to thank him again first. Trent explains that his grandfather helped other people find lost family members after he found out he was adopted and had a falling out with his adoptive parents. Trent says his grandma always said it would have been better if his grandfather had never discovered his adoption records and wonders if she was right. Avery tells him secrets have a way of coming out and opens the folder. Before she can read the documents, however, a little boy walks into the room. Avery realizes Trent has a son and wonders if he has a wife, too. A wave of jealousy washes over her, but she pushes it from her mind.
Avery doesn’t want to be jealous of Trent’s possible wife because it would mean that she has to admit to herself just how attracted she is to him. This would be an even greater betrayal of her relationship with Elliott than shooting Trent a flirty smile or thinking that he’s charismatic. More importantly, being attracted to someone other than Elliot could complicate Avery’s life—something she can’t afford with how complicated it already is between her father’s cancer, the nursing home scandal, and her new concern about Judy’s secret.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
The little boy, Jonah, tells Trent that he had a nightmare about a dinosaur in his closet. Trent tries to soothe him, but Avery—who has plenty of experience with kids thanks to her niece and nephews—suggests they buy a flashlight so Jonah can shine it in the closet when he gets scared and see that nothing’s there. Jonah and Trent love the idea and Avery is surprised to find that she forgot all about the papers she’s holding. She looks back down at them and sees that it’s paperwork for a newborn named Shad Arthur Foss who was surrendered by his unwed parents—B. A. Foss and Mary Anne Anthony—at birth and given to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Avery is confused because she doesn’t recognize any names or any obvious connection between this baby and Judy. Still, Avery knows it must have been important to Judy.
Rill’s last name is Foss, so this paper reveals that at least one of Briny and Queenie’s twin babies (a boy) survived and was adopted. The comment Tann made about Gabion’s baby sister being adopted also implies that the other twin (a girl) survived. This means that both of Queenie and Briny’s twins survived even though nurses told them they were stillborn, according to Zede. This is an example of one of the real-life Georgia Tann’s most well-known tactics to get her hands on valuable newborns—simply tell the parents the babies have died, and then turn around and sell those babies to the highest bidder.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
Avery asks Trent if there are other packets. Trent looks guilty but admits that his grandfather kept a few with the names of people they should be given to written on them. Trent explains that his grandfather took on jobs to find people for decades, but that Trent didn’t know why his grandfather took some cases and not others; some of these jobs were done for high-profile clients. Avery says she’s still confused as to what any of this has to do with Judy and she asks if he has files for May Crandall or someone named Fern or Queenie. Trent says he doesn’t know and that his grandfather only kept files for people who asked for them, which means Judy must have sought out help finding someone.
The papers in Judy’s packet are about Shad Arthur Foss, which would indicate that this is who she was looking for, but not why. Avery groups May, Fern, and Queenie together, which means that she is beginning to believe (correctly, it will turn out) that the three women are somehow connected to each other through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery asks Trent if he can show her the other files, which are in a separate building on the property. Trent agrees and says he must put Jonah to bed. Before he turns away, his and Avery’s eyes meet and Avery “feel[s] something” that she doesn’t want to. Trent smiles at her and she feels something “like lightning crackling far off.” For moment she’s stunned, but the moment ends when Jonah stirs sleepily. Avery mentally chastises herself and says she has to go, just as her phone starts to buzz. She suggests they meet tomorrow to go through the office and Trent agrees, saying he’ll send his son to an aunt’s house to play for the day. Trent steps out to watch Avery walk home to make sure she gets there safely.
Earlier when she was reading Judy’s appointment books, Avery wondered if she’s supposed to have a “lightning bolt moment” to know that she’s in love; because she never had that with Elliot, she questions her love for him. On the other hand, she has a feeling “like lightning crackling” with Trent. This implies that it’s Trent Avery can truly love, not Elliot.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
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While Avery walks back, she’s conscious of Trent watching her. Suddenly, her phone buzzes again and she sees it’s one of her friends from Baltimore. The two chat about a new case that’s come up in Baltimore and Avery notes that “whatever nonsense” she felt at Trent’s is dissipating, which she is grateful for. As Avery talks about the new case, she realizes that she misses her “old life.”
Avery calls what she experienced with Trent “nonsense” to downplay its importance, because she’s still in denial about her own true emotions. Similarly, the phone conversation reveals that Avery’s heart is in being a lawyer, not a politician. If she follows in her father’s footsteps, then she will have to give up being a lawyer even though it makes her happy.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon