The Mothers

Aubrey Evans Character Analysis

A pious young woman who appears at Upper Room one Sunday and walks up to the altar with teary eyes to be saved. Nobody knows Aubrey’s background, but the church community readily accepts her because of her strong religious devotion. Although Nadia initially sees Aubrey as boring and simple, Nadia soon learns that her new friend has a painful history. Aubrey doesn’t live with her mother, but with her sister (Mo) and her sister’s girlfriend (Kasey)—a fact that endears Nadia to her, since the two girls bond over not living with their mothers. However, Aubrey’s circumstances are different, since she’s the one who left her mother, not the other way around. Aubrey’s mother has always prioritized her lovers over her children—a tendency that proved harmful when her boyfriend Paul started raping Aubrey on a regular basis. Because her mother failed to ever do anything about this, Aubrey moved to California, where Mo lives with Kasey. Because of her painful history as a rape victim, Aubrey dedicates herself to becoming a “clean” and pious woman who wears a purity ring. When she starts dating Luke, she insists that they wait until marriage to have sex, and even when they finally do get married, she has trouble enjoying intercourse, since for her it brings nothing but pain. As her marriage with Luke progresses, Aubrey slowly learns details about her husband’s past with Nadia, her best friend. Unfortunately, though, neither Luke nor Nadia tell Aubrey the truth about their history until she finally discovers that they’re having an affair. Distraught, she stops talking to both of them, though she eventually gets back together with Luke and has his baby. As for her relationship with Nadia, she begins talking to her again, though it’s clear their friendship will never be the same.

Aubrey Evans Quotes in The Mothers

The The Mothers quotes below are all either spoken by Aubrey Evans or refer to Aubrey Evans. 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:
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of The Mothers published in 2016.
Chapter Four Quotes

Not ghost eyes, but she had been gifted with a second sight nonetheless: she could look at a girl and tell if she’d been hit before. Forget bruises and scars—hit women learned to hide or explain those away. No need for stories about running into doorknobs or tripping down stairs—all she needed to do was lock her odd eyes onto theirs and she knew a woman surprised or outraged by pain from a woman who’d learned to expect it. She saw past flawless skin to diamond-shaped iron burns, gashes from golden belt buckles, necks nicked by steak knives, lips split by class rings, faces blooming purple and deep blue. She’d told Aubrey this the third time she’d invited her for tea, and after, Aubrey had stared into the mirror, wondering what else the first lady saw. Was her entire past written on her skin?

Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
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How could a woman like that kill herself? Aubrey knew it was a stupid question—anyone could kill herself, if she wanted to badly enough. Mo said that it was physiological. Misfired synapses, unbalanced chemicals in the brain, the whole body a machine with a few tripped wires that had caused it to self-destruct. But people weren’t just their bodies, right? The decision to kill yourself had to be more complicated than that.

Related Characters: Aubrey Evans, Elise Turner, Monique (Mo)
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter Nine Quotes

She had hoped for a release. She would go to this wedding and when she watched the two of them kiss at the altar, the part of her that was still hooked into Luke would finally give. A click, then the latch would open and she would finally be free. Instead, she felt him burrowing deeper into her. She felt the dull burn of an old hunger, all the times she had wanted him, the times she had hoped he might hold her hand in public, the nights she had dreamed about when he might finally tell her he loved her.

Related Characters: Nadia Turner, Luke Sheppard, Aubrey Evans
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter Twelve Quotes

“Well, you got your husband to protect you.”

“My husband’s the one who hurts me,” she said. “He thinks I don’t know he’s in love with someone else.”

She had never said it out loud before. There was something freeing in admitting that you had been loved less. She might have gone her whole life not knowing, thinking that she was enjoying a feast when she had actually been picking at another’s crumbs.

Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:
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Aubrey Evans Character Timeline in The Mothers

The timeline below shows where the character Aubrey Evans appears in The Mothers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One 
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...in AP Government, her friends avoid pairing up with her, forcing her to work with Aubrey Evans, a highly devoted Christian who wears a purity ring. Nadia thinks Aubrey is “probably... (full context)
Chapter Three
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...window and sees a summer camp playing outside. “In the midst of the chaos” stands Aubrey Evans. As Nadia watches her—completely unsurprised to discover that Aubrey spends her summers at church—she... (full context)
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One day, Nadia encounters Aubrey in the halls of Upper Room. The two girls have an awkward, stilted conversation. Later,... (full context)
Chapter Four
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...mother’s final days—wondering what she must have been experiencing—and feeling lonely herself.  One day, though, Aubrey sits and has lunch with her at Upper Room. At first, Nadia wants to be... (full context)
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Nadia and Aubrey start having lunch together every day. In this way, Nadia slowly learns more about her... (full context)
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When Nadia asks if Aubrey’s mother is dead, Aubrey says, “No, no, nothing like that. I just—we don’t get along,... (full context)
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Nadia starts spending all of her time at Aubrey’s house, where Aubrey lives with her sister, Monique, and Monique’s girlfriend, Kasey. When Aubrey first... (full context)
Secrecy, Gossip, and Storytelling Theme Icon
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...to “look at a girl and tell if she [has] been hit before.” She told Aubrey this the third time they had tea together, and since then Aubrey has wondered what... (full context)
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...highly perceptive, but she still doesn’t know that Paul used to get drunk and hit Aubrey and her mother. “He’d moved in a year before [Aubrey had] left,” Bennett explains, “and... (full context)
Chapter Five
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Nadia spends every night at Aubrey’s house that summer, leaving her Robert alone and causing him to wonder if Nadia is... (full context)
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...about the girl in the E.R. who almost died from taking such pills, Nadia asks Aubrey, “Do you think it’s bad? What that girl did?” “Why?” Aubrey asks, to which Nadia... (full context)
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As the summer draws to a close, Nadia decides she wants to take Aubrey to a party at Cody Richardson’s house—one last visit before Nadia leaves California. She helps... (full context)
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At the party, Nadia gets Aubrey drunk. With alcohol working through her system, Aubrey starts dancing with a boy so sexually... (full context)
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...night—after Luke tells her that he “didn’t want to kill [their] baby”—Nadia fantasizes about telling Aubrey everything about the abortion and her relationship with Luke, wanting badly for her friend to... (full context)
Chapter Six
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...life, internships, and travel, Nadia finds excuses to avoid returning home. When she Skypes with Aubrey, she always says she’ll visit “soon,” though she never makes good on this promise. “At... (full context)
Chapter Seven
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Aubrey surprises Luke by visiting him at the rehab center on behalf of the Mothers, who... (full context)
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Aubrey’s visits to the rehab center become quite frequent, and she brings Luke donuts, books, and... (full context)
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...job at Upper Room once he’s left rehab. Meanwhile, Luke continues to spend time with Aubrey, who sits next to him in the back pew during Sunday services. When Luke’s father... (full context)
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Later that night, Luke lies in bed with Aubrey, whom—Bennett reveals—he has started dating. Their relationship has progressed naturally, but they haven’t had sex... (full context)
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Changing the subject, Luke asks Aubrey to tell him a secret, and she says that when she was younger, she thought... (full context)
Chapter Eight
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...California, Nadia still hasn’t returned. Finally, though, she’s summoned back by a phone call from Aubrey, who reveals she’s getting married to Luke. When Nadia hangs up, Shadi doesn’t understand why... (full context)
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...Nadia prepares to return home for the first time since she left for college. Meanwhile, Aubrey plans the bridal shower with Mrs. Sheppard, who has high expectations and wants to make... (full context)
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The week before Aubrey’s wedding, Nadia comes home to discover that her father has taken down all the pictures... (full context)
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Aubrey is overjoyed to see Nadia at the bridal shower, which takes place in the Sheppards’... (full context)
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...on her life when they hadn’t spoken in years. Anything he knew, he’d learned from Aubrey, and she felt betrayed, imagining the two of them in bed together, chatting about her.” (full context)
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Aubrey’s mother responds to her invitation the weekend before the wedding. We can’t make it, she... (full context)
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“What happened with you and Luke?” Aubrey asks Nadia. “I know you guys were involved.” Shifting on her towel, Nadia tells her... (full context)
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Two Marines approach Nadia and Aubrey on the beach and ask them to play volleyball, claiming they need two more players.... (full context)
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...where they start a small fire before jumping off the pier into the freezing water. Aubrey thinks about how dangerous it is to make this jump—worrying about hitting something and becoming... (full context)
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When the sun starts to rise the next day, Aubrey and Nadia are still awake. Sitting in Robert’s truck, Nadia says she thinks Miller liked... (full context)
Chapter Nine
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Nadia cries three times at Aubrey and Luke’s wedding: when Aubrey walks down the aisle, when Luke delivers his vows, and... (full context)
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...that Luke told his parents about her abortion. Later that night, Luke goes to unzip Aubrey’s dress, but she reaches behind and stops him. “I know about you and Nadia,” she... (full context)
Chapter Ten
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...diaphragm, breaking his ribs, and puncturing his lung. Nadia hasn’t been to her hometown since Aubrey and Luke’s wedding several years ago, but she jumps out of Zach’s bed and asks... (full context)
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...a chair, she falls asleep while holding his hand. When she wakes up, she finds Aubrey sleeping on a cot one of the nurses brought in. Nadia hasn’t seen Aubrey since... (full context)
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During this time, Aubrey starts corresponding via email with Miller, the Marine she met on the beach before her... (full context)
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In the past, Aubrey has somewhat blurred the line between friendship and flirtation with Russell. She even sends him... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
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As Nadia and Luke’s secret romance unfolds, Aubrey goes to the appointment she made with her doctor to talk about her inability to... (full context)
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Nadia and Luke continue having sex behind Aubrey’s back. They both pretend to not feel guilty, but it’s obvious that each of them... (full context)
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Shortly after visiting her regular doctor, Aubrey makes an appointment with a fertility specialist named Dr. Yavari, who is hailed in online... (full context)
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During the appointment, Dr. Yavari asks Aubrey a set of questions. “Have you ever had an abortion?” she asks at one point,... (full context)
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After Nadia says she can’t believe abortion “follows” a person around, Aubrey is certain that her friend is the woman Luke told her about, the one he... (full context)
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...says, “What if I wasn’t?” This gives Nadia pause, but then she points out that Aubrey loves Luke and that they can’t do that to her. “We’re just fucking around,” she... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
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...understand that the object was a telltale sign of their affair. The Mothers reveal that Aubrey finally becomes pregnant with a baby girl, and they speculate that this girl will “someday”... (full context)
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The following Sunday, Aubrey sees Russell in the receiving line at church. Catching up with him outside, Aubrey asks... (full context)
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Aubrey meets Russell at a diner on the pier two days later. Reminding herself they’re not... (full context)
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Russell asks if Luke wants a boy or a girl, and Aubrey says she doesn’t know. “People always think men want boys,” Russell says, and when Aubrey... (full context)
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Aubrey and Russell’s lunch date doesn’t go unnoticed in the community, and people from Upper Room... (full context)
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Aubrey accuses Luke of loving Nadia. “Please,” he says, but she tells him he can stop... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
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Aubrey moves out and refuses to talk to Luke or Nadia. During this time, Nadia stays... (full context)
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Aubrey has been living at her sister’s house and refusing visitors. However, she’s spoken to Luke... (full context)
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...visits Nadia’s house one day while her father is out walking. Luke tells her that Aubrey has taken her letters, and “For the first time in months,” Nadia’s “chest [feels] lighter.”... (full context)
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...Nadia realizes that “she could do this for him, take the fall.” She could tell Aubrey that she seduced Luke, that she “ensnared a good man who was only trying to... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
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...her way to the airport, Nadia stops at Monique and Kasey’s house and talks to Aubrey, who is now far along in her pregnancy. Upon seeing her, Nadia remembers how she... (full context)
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...in their community, though nobody leaves prayer cards anymore. Still, they pray for people like Aubrey Evans and Luke Sheppard, whom they’ve seen together with their newborn child, “together, but not... (full context)
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...truck as Nadia drives past, and the group speculates that she’s bringing a gift for Aubrey’s daughter. Just as quickly as they can formulate this hypothesis, though, Nadia drives around the... (full context)