Summary and Analysis
An Unexpected Visitor
After spending the night together, Noah and Allie also share the next morning. The morning is spent eating breakfast, making love, doing chores, talking, and even staring at one another. After lunch there is knock on the door, and Noah is shocked to see Allie's mother, Anne.
Allie's mother says "I came because I had to" — the same reason she assumes that Allie came to New Bern. Allie's mother reveals that Lon called her last night to ask about Noah and tells Allie that he is also on his way to New Bern. In addition, Anne delivers Noah's letters, which she has never read, to Allie. After Allie and her mother share statements of love for one another, Anne departs.
Based on the title of the chapter, readers are expecting the confrontation between Allie and Lon; however, that is momentarily on hold as the lovers must first confront the person who actively worked to keep them apart.
While explaining why she has come, Anne treats Allie as an adult and a friend and not as a child. This moment is important, for otherwise Anne would be a stereotypical, stuck up, Southern aristocrat. Rather than make excuses for her actions, Anne attempts to explain that she thought she was protecting her daughter from an unsuitable match. When Anne asks Allie if she should stay in town, she is offering what help and assistance Allie may want or need while simultaneously giving her daughter the space, room, and support she needs to make this very important decision. The ambiguous ending to the chapter, the uncertainty of Allie hearing her mother whispering "Follow your heart" may just be Allie's projection of what she wanted her mother to say, or it may be her mother's attempt at atoning for the mistakes of her past.
The shorter chapters — this one and the previous one — increase the pace and suspense of the narrative, contrasting with the leisurely pace of the time Allie and Noah spend together alone. When they are by themselves, Noah and Allie are lost in time, but when others are around and involved, they are cognizant of their surroundings and are caught up in the hustle and bustle of real-world life.