Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours

by

Lisa Wingate

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Senator Wells Stafford Character Analysis

Avery Stafford’s father. Wells’s mother, Judy Stafford, adores him—he is her pride and joy, especially after he followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming involved in politics. During the events of the story, Wells is suffering from cancer, which motivates him to call his daughter Avery back home. Avery is Wells’s favorite daughter and he wants her to follow in his footsteps and win his seat in the U.S. Senate if his fight with cancer forces him to step down. Wells relies on his assistant, Leslie, to help him prepare Avery to take on the role one day. Wells is happily married to Honeybee (the nickname he gave his wife early in their relationship; this is also what their grandchildren call her) and they have two other daughters together, Allison and Missy. When Avery tells Wells about Judy’s real birth family and secret relationship with her sisters, Wells helps arrange for Judy and her sole surviving sister (Rill Foss, renamed May Weathers Crandall) to live in the same senior care facility together; however, he and his family agree to keep the relationship secret.

Senator Wells Stafford Quotes in Before We Were Yours

The Before We Were Yours quotes below are all either spoken by Senator Wells Stafford or refer to Senator Wells Stafford. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Personal Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ballantine edition of Before We Were Yours published in 2017.
Chapter 25 Quotes

My father moves tentatively to a chair, looks at his mother as if he’s never seen her before. In a way, he hasn’t. The woman he remembers was an actress playing a role, at least partially. For all the years since her sisters found her, there have been two people inside the body of Judy Stafford. One of them is a senator’s wife. The other carries the blood of river gypsies.

Page Number: 329
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
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Senator Wells Stafford Character Timeline in Before We Were Yours

The timeline below shows where the character Senator Wells Stafford appears in Before We Were Yours. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...Avery takes a breath and prepares to exit the limo—which is surrounded by cameras—with her father. She wishes she could forget why she came back to Aiken, but she can’t. Her... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Even though Avery is certain she wants to take over for her father, she still hopes that she won’t have to quite yet, that both Wells Stafford’s (her... (full context)
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Wells asks Avery if she’s ready and she says she is. To herself, she says that... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...reminder because she’s about to enter a nursing home, which makes her uncomfortable. She and Wells are there to help one of Wells’s long-time contributors celebrate her 100th birthday. As Wells... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...sing “Happy Birthday,” Avery watches the woman outside slowly turn back towards the building. Her father’s assistant, Leslie, whispers to Avery that she needs to focus. When the cake comes out,... (full context)
Chapter 3
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...are taking Christmas pictures in July so Avery explains that her mom is worried that Wells’s hair might start to thin when he starts chemo. Avery chokes up as she thinks... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...time with her niece and nephews but goes to get changed anyway. In the car, Wells scrolls through his phone while Avery thinks about the nursing home scandal and how it... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Avery’s thoughts turn to her childhood and how she used to attend public appearances with Wells, who was always beaming with pride at how well-behaved Avery was. Now, as an adult,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...into a nursing home. In fact, Magnolia Manor is where Honeybee first set eyes on Wells Stafford and decided to pursue him, thus uniting two powerful political families. The estate is... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...fills Judy in on the family news and they talk about the town hall meeting Wells and Avery attended the day before. Judy speaks glowingly of Wells and disparages his political... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 13
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 19
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...at her. Trent gently takes May’s hand and tells her what he knows about his grandfather’s past and the files he left behind after his death. At this, May’s eyes water... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...on an absolute yes or no.” May looks to Trent and tells him that his grandfather helped reunite her and Fern with their sister Lark. Lark and Fern, however, have since... (full context)
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...90 years old, she has no need for muscle tone. Trent chuckles and says his grandfather wanted to just be put in a boat to drift down the Edisto River. At... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Trent tells Avery that the revelations May made about his grandfather make him wonder what his grandfather’s life would have been like if he hadn’t been... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...sued for mistreating residents. Avery is furious to learn the article includes a picture of Wells and Judy at Magnolia Manor. (full context)
Chapter 21
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
...talking to Judy for a while, Avery says she has to go and that her dad will be there later. Judy asks who Avery’s dad is and gets confused when Avery... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
...if she’s outgrown it. This leads her to question if she must choose between being Wells’s daughter or being herself. Avery tries to dismiss these thoughts as a reaction to the... (full context)
Chapter 25
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...asks Avery if she’ll tell the rest of her family and Avery says she’ll tell Wells and let him decide what to do from there. (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Child Trafficking, Heritage, and Rewriting History Theme Icon
...May that they’re coming to visit, too. May is horrified that she’s about to meet Wells because she’s not dressed up, but Trent persuades her to go into the cottage before... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Avery tells Honeybee and Wells about Judy and May’s history. Although Honeybee tries to question the story’s plausibility, Wells seems... (full context)
Personal Identity Theme Icon
Family Secrets Theme Icon
Injustice and Class Divisions Theme Icon
Wells says he wants to talk to May, and Avery says May would like that. The... (full context)