Timeline

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Twenty-Seven Years Ago
Belinda Bellecastle, a New Orleans debutante, runs away from home at the age of 17.

“Not Quite Eighteen Years Ago”
The Darling Budds, and all but one member of The Gang, are born.

Seventeen Years Ago
Josephine Brooks is born. Bonnie Belle moves home, becomes Belinda Bellecastle again.

Sixteen Years Ago
Belinda Bellecastle and Erling Hammarskjöld are married.

Fifteen Years Ago
Emily is adopted by Belinda Bellecastle and Erling Hammarskjöld; Michael and Nicolaus Karlinoff arrive in America.

Twelve Years Ago
Josephine and David begin attending Violet Day School; The Budds, Andre, and Robert begin at St. Odo of Cluny’s Prepatory School For Boys And Girls.

Eleven Years Ago
Oliver Brooks, Josephine’s father, becomes headmaster of Beaumonde Academy, and his family moves into the headmaster’s house next door to the school. Catherine Brooks and her sophomore class win the McMillan Award.

Ten Years Ago
Oliver Brooks passes away; Ellen Hayes is named headmaster; Catherine Brooks, now a junior, helps her class win the McMillan Award again.

Nine Years Ago
Emily begins attending boarding school in Manhattan.

Six Years Ago
The Gang moves out of their respective elementary schools and begin attending middle school.

Five Years Ago
Litta’Bit transfers to St. Odo’s.

Three Years Ago: Freshman Year

Emily Bellecastle returns from boarding school. The Gang begins at Beaumonde Academy.

The Summer Between Freshman And Sophomore Year
The Darling Budds begin to educate The Gang and the rest of the underclassmen on the tenets of Proper.

Two Years Ago: Sophomore Year
Michael Karlinoff begins at Beaumonde Academy.

Fall Break, Sophomore Year

Michael is confronted and brought into The Gang.

Halloween, Sophomore Year

The Budds' first Halloween party. Josephine confides in Emily what she knows about Michael.

The Summer Between Sophomore And Junior Year
“The Darling Budds went to see their Grampa and Gramma Monroe in Lafayette, then headed northeastward with their mother; Robert and his sister went off to his family’s country house for the summer, where he was frequently visited by his father and Lucas Budd, who were political allies; Andre went to live with his aunt in Phoenix; David went to visit his uncle, in Chicago; Litta’Bit and her brother were given summer jobs by their mother, who thought they needed something to keep them busy; Emily and her family went on a months-long trip to Europe; and poor Josephine was forced to visit her sister in Los Angeles.”

One Year Ago: Junior Year
Alexander successfully gets a stronger dress code placed at Beaumonde. “Robert and Litta’Bit broke up, then reconciled, then broke up in a much more dramatic fashion, then finally participated in an even more dramatic Alexander-facilitated reunion that left more than a few damp eyes at the school’s Christmas social. David fell in love and had his heart subsequently broken half a dozen times before spring semester. Emily’s father was sued by his ex-wife and children because of her, and she continued to fight with her mother. Andre and Josephine, who had never fully signed on to the Budd’s sartorial revolution for reasons of their own—obstinacy and self-consciousness, respectively—suddenly found themselves the worst dressed students at the school, with only their membership in The Gang keeping them from being openly ridiculed. And Michael’s father was as strict as ever, and rarely let him participate in The Gang’s afterschool and weekend plans.”

Halloween, Junior Year
The Budds' second Halloween costume party.

May 21:

Prologue: At the Beaumonde Academy prom, the juniors win the McMillan Award. Lucas Budd is arrested.