Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Before We Were Yours: Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Avery asks Honeybee again if the name May Crandall is familiar. Avery explains that May was the woman who took the dragonfly bracelet Judy gave her. Honeybee writes this off, saying May might have seen Judy wearing it at a public appearance and remembered it. Honeybee asks Wells if he recognizes the name, but he doesn’t recognize it either. Desperate, Avery asks if Judy has any connection to Arcadia and Honeybee notes that Avery seems really concerned with the situation. Avery nearly pulls out her phone to show Honeybee the picture but thinks better of it when she remembers how stressed Honeybee already is over Wells’s health. Instead, Avery assures Honeybee she’s not concerned, just curious. In her thoughts, Avery tells herself she should let it go, but thoughts about Judy’s words and May’s picture continue to nag her.
Honeybee’s attitude towards the family’s fame is a sharp contrast to Avery’s. Avery struggles with being in the limelight because it means she has to carefully control everything about herself to avoid criticism. Honeybee simply accepts that the family is very important and thinks it’s only natural that a woman like May would remember the details of the clothes they wear (such as the bracelet). However, this same fame makes Honeybee paranoid—she seems to assume that anyone could be out to get them, even a seemingly benign old woman in a nursing home.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery and her parents arrive at a local country club to make an appearance and shake the right hands. However, even though Avery is in her element talking about legal issues, she can’t shake her thoughts about what the words Arcadia and Queenie might mean to Judy. Unable to get her mind off them, Avery makes up an excuse to slip away from her family when they get back home so that she can go see May Crandall again. Honeybee thinks Avery wants to talk to Elliot to settle wedding plans and tells her that the azalea garden at their house should be beautiful around the end of March, which Avery recognizes as a subtle hint to get married then. Avery writes this off and tells herself she has more important things to think about.
Honeybee’s hints about Avery’s wedding show that she, like Elliot’s mother, is anxious for Avery and Elliot to make definite plans. In other words, both of their families are counting on them. Because Avery was raised to believe she must live up to her family’s expectations, she remains committed to making plans for a wedding that, at the moment, seems very unimportant to her.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Avery is driving to May’s nursing home when her sister Allison calls her and asks her to pick Courtney up and drop her off at a friend’s house. Avery agrees and turns around to get Courtney, who’s overjoyed to see her. On the way, Avery realizes they’ll pass right by Judy’s house, which the family still owns. Avery decides to stop by the house to look for answers after dropping Courtney off. The house hasn’t been lived in since Judy left and all her belongings are still there. Judy was always very organized, and everything is carefully labelled with details of its origins, including the dragonfly bracelet that she gave Avery (which Judy got in 1966). Avery realizes she has no idea who gave Judy the bracelet.
Avery has accepted that Judy has some kind of secret and she is desperate to find out what it is. In Avery’s world, a family secret has the potential to destroy the family reputation unless it is handled correctly. So by finding out what the secret it, Avery is preparing herself to defend her family, but it would also help her understand the family better.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Avery settles on looking through Judy’s detailed appointment books, remembering that once Judy told Avery she’d be able to read them all and find out all Judy’s secrets. In the most recent appointment book, Avery sees a note with the names Trent Turner and Edisto. Avery doesn’t know who Trent Turner is but keeps going through the book to look for May Crandall’s name. When she reaches entries for January of that year, Avery again sees Trent’s name. Avery becomes more curious about who Trent is and decides to call the phone number Judy wrote next to the name. Nobody answers, but the voicemail recording reveals that Trent Turner is a real estate agent. Avery wonders if Judy was going to sell her cottage on Edisto Island, but doesn’t believe it.  
Avery chooses to look for May’s name, but not for the name “Rill,” which is what Judy mistakenly called her at the nursing home. At this point, Avery believes that if there is a family secret, it will be something so innocent that it’s recorded in an appointment book, which means she’s not yet ready to discover anything too serious in her family’s past.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon
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Avery decides to look at some of Judy’s oldest appointment books. In one entry, Judy wrote about meeting Avery’s grandfather and how Judy didn’t doubt at all that she should marry him. Avery struggles with her emotions as she wonders if you’re supposed to have a “lightning bolt moment” when you find the person you’re meant to be with, because she’s never had that with Elliot. Instead, they grew up together and simply moved from friends to dating to engaged because it always seemed like the right thing to do.
In this passage, Avery transitions from a simple lack of excitement about planning her wedding to actually questioning whether she loves the man she’s going to marry. Avery compares her feelings for Elliot to Judy’s feelings for her husband and Avery finds that genuine love in her relationship might be lacking.
Themes
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Avery’s phone rings, interrupting her thoughts—it’s Trent, returning her call. Avery confusedly asks if Judy was selling the cottage and Trent explains that he’s recently taken over since the death of his grandfather, who was also named Trent Turner. Avery asks Trent why Judy was contacting his grandfather. Trent hesitates before saying that his grandfather had some papers for Judy. Avery immediately becomes suspicious and asks what the papers were about, but Trent refuses to tell her because he made a promise to his grandfather. However, he says he can give the papers to Judy if she comes down herself. Avery states that it’s not possible for Judy to come down in person so Trent says there’s nothing he can do and hangs up.
Trent’s unwillingness to share details about what papers he has for Judy only makes Avery more suspicious. To her, this is the first clue that the family secret might actually be serious and not just something easy to deal with like poor relatives.
Themes
Family Secrets Theme Icon