Recap: Life has an interesting and surprising way of bringing people together. Such is the case for Jules, Annie, India, and Bettina. Then Came You starts with India, a 38-year-old (actually 43) woman who wants to have a baby with her new — and very wealthy — husband. But her stepdaughter Bettina is convinced — and rightfully so — that India’s reasoning for the baby has more to do with money than love. Enter Jules and Annie — the women who make the baby happen. Jules donates her eggs, in the hopes that she will earn enough money to help her sick father. Annie becomes a surrogate to support her own family of four.
All four women work together without even knowing one another to bring another person into the world. Some are doing it for the right reasons. Some are doing it for the wrong reasons. Some are doing it for simply selfish reasons. But when the baby is born, the bond between the women changes. Suddenly this new life impacts them like they never expected, and not only do they get a baby, but they also get three new friends to go along with her.
Analysis: With revolving first-person narration between the four characters, Then Came You gives the reader a good look at each person involved — what their story is, where they come from, what motivates them to do what they do. Initially it’s difficult to understand how the women are connected, but the picture starts to come into focus about halfway through the book. Possibly more interesting than the hard work that goes into creating this baby is each of their motivations for it doing it. It’s fair to say that each woman gets out of the experience much more than just a baby and some extra financial cushioning.
So much of this novel is about women, maternity, life and death. With the new life these women are bringing into the world also come several deaths — all by male characters. With her charm, author Jennifer Weiner uses Then Came You to make a statement about the importance of women in continuing the natural life cycle. With technology and science advancing the way things are these days (donor eggs, surrogates), women are now even more powerful and independent.
Each character learns something — Jules learns who she is and realizes that some people never change. Annie realizes the importance of making sacrifices. Bettina learns to accept others, despite her initial judgements. India learns it’s better to be honest than to keep secrets. But most importantly, they learn the importance of love and strength.
MVP: Annie. Though timid, not well-educated, and the one with the least personality, she is the strongest. She is the person most willing to help make this baby happen — willing to selflessly make sacrifices for her family, help others, and strive to be a better person.