Things have not been going well for Lyddie in the chapters leading up to chapter 15. The pace of the machines has been picking up. While that means more money for Lyddie, it also means that she is more exhausted. Her difficulties at work are compounded by having to help train Brigid, and Brigid does not prove to be a quick learner. By chapter 15, readers get a sense that Lyddie is starting to gain some control back. Her money situation is doing well, and Lyddie has actually started to like Brigid.
Lyddie's uncle arrives in chapter 15, and Lyddie's world is once again rocked with bad news. The news is three different things, but they are all tied to each other. The first piece of news is that Lyddie's mother has been placed in an asylum. Lyddie is appalled. She knows her mother isn't mentally well, but the asylum is for "crazy folk." Because of that situation, a caregiver is needed for Rachel, and uncle Judah and his family can't do it; therefore, uncle Judah shows up in chapter 15 with Rachel. Lyddie is now going to have to be her caregiver. Lyddie's determination and loyalty to her family is shown here, because she says to her uncle that it won't be long before she has enough money to pay off the family debt and bring everybody back to the farm. That's when uncle Judah gives the third piece of devastating news. He is selling Lyddie's family's farm to pay for the asylum costs, and Lyddie's father gave him the legal power to do it.