Study Guide

Brooklyn: A Novel

Brooklyn: A Novel Summary

Eilis Lacey lives in a small town in Ireland with her mother and older sister Rose. She lives a pretty boring existence, hanging at home and going to school to become a bookkeeper.

Everything changes when Rose introduces her to Father Flood, a priest who wants to help Eilis immigrate to America to find work. Eilis is hesitant—naturally—but she doesn't really have a choice in the matter. Fast-forward a few weeks and suddenly our young heroine is on an ocean liner heading straight towards big city Brooklyn.

There she moves into a boardinghouse run by an Irishwoman named Mrs. Kehoe and gets a job at Bartocci's Department Store. Everything is pretty cool and exciting, but Eilis gets slammed by intense feelings of homesickness after receiving her first letters from the fam. Luckily, Father Flood saves the day by inviting Eilis to serve Christmas dinner at his parish, which makes Eilis feel connected to her Irish roots.

Of course, it also helps that she meets a fella named Tony. Tony is an Italian-American charmer, and he and Eilis quickly spark a romance. Although Eilis digs him, she's not moving anywhere near as fast as he is: he tells her that he loves her immediately and frequently alludes to them getting married.

That's when Eilis gets devastating news: Rose died in her sleep. This sends Eilis into a whirlwind of emotions, leading her to sleep with Tony for the first time, and then deciding to go back to Ireland for a month to take care of her mom. When Tony hears about this, he begs her to marry him before she goes and—shocker—she agrees. They tie the knot in a courtroom.

Ireland is weird. Eilis' mom keeps on treating her like Rose, dressing her in her older sister's clothes and even getting her a temp job at her old office. Eilis still hasn't revealed her marriage, however. This ends up complicating things a great deal, as Eilis sparks a romance with Jim Farrell, a kid she had met before moving to Brooklyn. This relationship gets pretty serious too: Jim asks her to get engaged so she doesn't return to Brooklyn.

Eilis is torn, but the decision is taken out of her hands when Miss Kelly—her former boss in Ireland—reveals that she knows Mrs. Kehoe, and that Mrs. Kehoe told her about Eilis' marriage. Knowing that this would cause a massive scandal, Eilis comes clean to her mom, writes an apology letter to Jim, and hops on a train that will take her to a Brooklyn-bound boat.

  • Part 1

    • Eilis Lacey is looking out her living room bedroom when she sees her older sister Rose returning from work.
    • Before she saw her sister, Eilis had been working on homework for her bookkeeping and accounting class. Sounds riveting.
    • Rose enters the house "holding her pocket mirror in front of her face" (1.3). Her mother offers to make her tea, but she declines: it's time to go to the golf club, as usual.
    • Before she leaves, she gives Eilis some cash to go to the movies. Aw—what a sweet sis.
    • Later that night, there's a knock on the door: it's a girl from Miss Kelly's grocery store. Miss Kelly apparently wants to see Eilis tonight, which is super-strange, as her family doesn't even go to Miss Kelly's store. It's way too expensive.
    • Regardless, she shows up at the shop that night. It's awkward at first, but Miss Kelly eventually explains that she wants Eilis to work for her on Sundays because she's so good with numbers.
    • Eilis has no choice but to agree. They plan to go to "seven o'clock mass" the following Sunday before her first day (1.40).
    • Before returning home, she stops by her friend Nancy Byrne's house, where she finds Annette O'Brien hanging out too. There's some juicy gossip—Nancy recently hooked up with George Sheridan.
    • Her two friends get hyped when she tells them about her new job—she'll finally have the dough to go dancing with them at the hottest dance club in Ireland (kinda), the Athenaeum.
    • Eilis spends the next few days learning everything she needs to know about Miss Kelly's shop. She's amazed by the pricey merchandise and Miss Kelly's snooty attitude towards customers.
    • The following Saturday, she buys a new dress for the upcoming dance with the money she's earned so far. Sounds swanky.
    • Eilis has had her own room since her brother Jack joined their eldest brothers in "Birmingham to find work" (1.86). Because their father is dead, Rose supports Eilis and her mom with her office job.
    • Rose is a pretty glamorous lady. She's thirty, has tons of boyfriends, kills on the golf course, and generally lives by the creed of YOLO.
    • Eilis arrives at church for seven o'clock mass. She sees Miss Kelly and her assistant Mary, but they don't actually greet her until she arrives at the store.
    • It's a chaotic day. Miss Kelly saves her best stuff for her fanciest customers, which is a little gross, but most folks seem to love the wild atmosphere of the store.
    • Eilis tells her mom about this over breakfast the next morning. Her mom says that Miss Kelly's mom was "evil incarnate" and that Miss Kelly (who is named, hilariously, Nelly Kelly) used to be a huge nerd back in the day (1.114).
    • That night, Eilis heads over to Nancy's before going to the dance. Nancy is still buzzing about George Sheridan, but is also nervous that he won't approach her.
    • Well, the joke's on her, because he's not even there when they show up. Then, when he finally does show up later in the night, he's flanked by his beefy bros from the rugby team.
    • After what seems like ages, George finally asks Nancy to dance. Phew. Unfortunately, that leaves Eilis to make small talk with George's bro Jim Farrell. And by small talk, we mean that they stand there awkwardly and exchange less than five words.
    • In addition to her regular workdays on Sunday, Eilis starts filling in during the week at Miss Kelly's shop. What a joy.
    • At dinner one night, Rose randomly brings up a priest named Father Flood, who she has invited over for tea tomorrow. That's odd. Apparently he lives in America, but is back home on vacation.
    • The four of them hang out for tea the next day. To Eilis' surprise, Father Flood shows a lot of interest in "her job at Miss Kelly's" (1.176).
    • Finally, Eilis realizes what's going on—Father Flood wants her to move to Brooklyn to find work. In fact, Rose must have gotten him to come over expressly for this purpose.
    • A few days later, Eilis receives a letter from Father Flood saying that he's found a job for her at a big Brooklyn store.
    • Over the next several weeks, Eilis' journey to America quickly becomes a reality. Rose takes care of her legal documents, while her brothers offer to pay her fare.
    • Because she's a top-notch employee, she decides to inform Miss Kelly a month before she leaves. Because she's kind of a grump, Miss Kelly fires her immediately.
    • Naturally, Eilis spends a lot of time with Rose during that month. She eventually realizes that Rose had decided to "sacrifice herself" so that Eilis could be the one to go to the States (1.223).
    • When the day finally comes, Rose takes Eilis to Dublin, where she'll catch a boat to Liverpool. There, she'll be able to see her brother Jack for a day before crossing the ocean.
    • Using her charm, Rose manages to get aboard the ship so they can have the maximum amount of time to say goodbye.
    • A short ride later, Eilis arrives in Liverpool. She's overjoyed to see her brother Jack and they take a stroll before her boat departs. He tells her how homesick he had been when he first moved.
    • Finally, it's time to go. Eilis boards the ship and discovers that she has a "tiny" room with a "bunk bed" and "no window" (1.303). Not exactly the Ritz-Carlton.
    • Suddenly, her roommate arrives: a mile-a-minute Englishwoman named Georgina. She tries to convince Eilis to help her infiltrate First Class, but she declines.
    • Instead, Eilis goes to the dining room for dinner. She's the only person there though, which is odd, but at least she gets top-notch service from the lone waiter.
    • Finally, she returns to her room. When she suddenly feels the need to use the toilet, she learns that the adjoining room has locked the door to the bathroom they share. Seriously?
    • Without anything else to do, Eilis runs through the halls until she finds "a bucket and some mops" in the corner (1.333). It's not the best surrogate-toilet, but it'll do.
    • She manages to fall asleep in her bed, but is woken up hours later by the violent shaking of the ship. Now she's seasick as all get-up, prompting her to run into the hallway and vomit profusely.
    • After a failed attempt to clean up her mess, Eilis goes back to sleep. Georgina wakes her up a while later and shows concern for her sickness.
    • Then Georgina gets down to business, picking the lock on the bathroom door and blocking the other room's entry. All's fair in love and seasickness, right?
    • Don't fear though—the two rooms make peace later that day and decide to end the Great Locked Door War.
    • The next night is pretty jolty too, but Ellis luckily doesn't have a full stomach this time (so that's why the dining room was empty). She takes a shower (her first ever) and feels oodles better.
    • The day before their arrival, Georgina gives Eilis tips on making it past customs. They're all useful, but Eilis gets the warmest fuzzies when Georgina shows her how to put on makeup.
  • Part 2

    • Eilis wakes up in the middle of the night—it is so hot right now. Luckily, the weather should be cooling down in the coming weeks, which is a huge relief.
    • She's in America now, BTW. She lives with Mrs. Kehoe, a fellow Irish immigrant whose husband ditched her to explore the wild, wild West.
    • There are five other girls who live there: Miss McAdam (who's a little stuck-up), Patty and Diana (who seem cool), Sheila Heffernan, and Miss Keegan, a weirdo who lives in the basement.
    • It's now morning, so Eilis hurries to get ready before the other girls wake up. She's in a bummy mood, on account that she's received no letters from home yet despite having sent several.
    • She hustles to work—Bartocci's Department Store—and changes "in the women's room downstairs" (2.21). Although she interviewed with Miss Bartocci for the job (through Father Flood, of course) she mostly deals with the manager, Miss Fortini.
    • Eilis works the shop floor, which she finds pretty easy. She is shocked by some of the fancy women's clothing they sell, however.
    • During her third week, she arrives at the store to find signs with the words "FAMOUS NYLON SALE" plastered everywhere (2.41). Guys, we have a strange feeling that it's time for a sale.
    • It's a crazy day. Luckily, Eilis is allowed to take home some nylon for free, so she gets pairs for herself, Rose, her mother, and Mrs. Kehoe.
    • She's so hyped by the sale that she doesn't even notice that she has three letters waiting for her when she returns—one from her mom, one from Rose, and one from Jack.
    • There's nothing too meaningful in any of these letters, but they throw Eilis into a near-fatal bout of homesickness. She wakes up feeling equally depressed the next morning.
    • She tries to get a pick-me-up by visiting a diner on the way to work, but that idea crashes and burns. Eilis spends the workday in full-on zombie mode.
    • Another night, another depressive episode. Eilis thinks of her brother Jack and wonders how he overcame his feelings of homesickness.
    • It's a new day and Eilis is almost late to work—a first for her. She manages to get there on time, but Miss Fortini pulls her downstairs just the same.
    • Miss Fortini can tell that Eilis is hardcore bumming, and rightfully assumes that she's thinking about her "family at home" (2.98). Clever girl.
    • Miss Fortini leaves to talk to Miss Bartocci, which makes Eilis think that she's about to be fired. But then she returns with a sandwich, which is a good sign—we think, at least.
    • Father Flood shows up some after. He apologizes for not keeping a closer eye on her—he thought she was getting along like gravy here in the US of A.
    • He also has a possible cure for her ailment: night classes. Eilis has been meaning to get her accounting degree, after all, and schoolwork should help distract her from her homesickness.
    • Father Flood somehow gets Eilis into a "night class in bookkeeping and preliminary accountancy" tuition-free (2.146). Dang, Father Flood—you're an OG.
    • Eilis' textbooks are a breeze. Classes are a little harder, however, as her law professor Mr. Rosenblum tends to jump between topics at a breakneck pace.
    • As the holidays near, Father Flood asks Eilis to help him serve Christmas dinner to the needy at the church. She reluctantly agrees.
    • Eilis works on Christmas Eve, so she heads to the church as soon as she gets off. Father Flood explains that they'll be dealing with over two hundred wayward Irishmen tomorrow—yikes.
    • After midnight mass, Eilis starts prepping by "peeling vegetables in the big kitchen at the back" (2.206). Visitors start showing up after the 10 a.m. mass.
    • Pretty soon, the room is popping off. Eilis sees an older man who she mistakenly thinks is her dead father, which sort of shakes her up, but she manages to right herself.
    • It's actually a lovely time, full of booze, fine food, and general merriment. In fact, the night ends with the man she mistook for her father beautifully singing a traditional Irish number.
  • Part 3

    • It's January and colder than an igloo up in here. The winters in New York are worse than the ones in Ireland, but Eilis is grateful to have 24/7 heat.
    • One night, Mrs. Kehoe abruptly (and silently) invites Eilis into her sitting room. She tells her that Miss Keegan is moving out, and that she wants to give Eilis the now-vacant basement.
    • Eilis is skeptical, but Mrs. Kehoe insists that it is "the biggest, the warmest," and "the quietest" bedroom in the place (3.9). Okay—whatever, lady.
    • Though hesitant, Eilis moves down on Sunday. Mrs. Kehoe makes sure that they do it on the low because she claims that the other tenants will be jealous.
    • Shocker—the room is gorgeous. Epic win, Eilis! Mrs. Kehoe wasn't lying about the other girls being jealous, either—Miss McAdams grills her about it the following weekend.
    • Father Flood decides to start hosting dances at the parish, starting the "following Sunday" (3.80). Eilis secretly wants to go with the fun-loving Patty and Diana, but she feels obligated to go with the boring Miss McAdam and Sheila Heffernan.
    • And she does indeed go with the boring ladies. This is made even worse by the fact that Patty and Diana look mega-chic when they finally show up.
    • Miss Fortini is waiting on the shop floor when Eilis arrives to work on Monday. She explains to Eilis and another worker, Miss Delano, that a big change is happening. Drum roll...
    • It turns out that Bartocci's is now opening its doors to African-Americans. Miss Fortini and Miss Bartocci stress that they should treat all customers equally regardless of race.
    • The first day is a little awkward, but it goes by as smooth as silk. Eilis is struck by how "glamorous" these ladies are (3.147).
    • Eilis loves her new room, BTW. She's a little bit less enthused about her classes, as Mr. Rosenblum doesn't seem to be reading from any book that she owns.
    • One day, after class, she finally asks him what's up. He seems frazzled, but gives her a list of books on corporate law to buy from a specialty store in Manhattan.
    • So she does. When she mentions to the bookkeeper that she's taking a class with Mr. Rosenblum, he alludes to him having escaped the Nazis during the holocaust. This goes over Eilis' head.
    • Back at home, there's a new tenant—the gangly Dolores Grace–who Mrs. Kehoe convinces Eilis to take to the dance tonight. Better than those other two boring girls, though, right?
    • Dolores does not look good, even after she gets ready. Yikes. Although even Eilis is a little embarrassed, they chill together at the dance nonetheless.
    • Eilis greets Patty and Diane when they arrive, and Patty motions for her to come to the bathroom. There, they put on some makeup and do their hair and all of that other fun girls-in-the-bathroom stuff.
    • When she returns, Eilis notices a dude staring at her. Like, staring. He's pretty short, but hunky otherwise, so she accepts when he asks her to dance.
    • His name is Tony and they spend the whole night dancing. And boy do we mean dancing: "they were wrapped around each other" (3.318).
    • Later in the night, he tells her that he scoped her out at the first dance but wasn't able to work up the nerve to approach her. D'aww.
    • At the end of the night, he drops a bombshell—he's not Irish. He's (gasp!) Italian, despite having blonde hair and blue eyes. He's also a plumber.
    • He walks her home and asks her to go to the dance with him the following week. We're coming down with a severe case of the adorables.
    • Mysteriously, Eilis starts feeling less homesick. (Totally a coincidence.) Still, Tony's good looks (and short stature) are the hot topic of conversation at the dinner table that week.
    • Mrs. Kehoe meets Tony after beating Eilis to the door that Friday night. Drat! Luckily, Tony makes a good impression by falsely claiming Irish descent. Eilis doesn't want to take any chances, however: he is to come straight to her basement door (which is outside) next time.
    • They go out to dinner first, then the dance. They have a rollicking good evening, and we'd reckon that Eilis is starting to fall for this goofball.
    • At the next dance, Tony invites Eilis to a movie. Though she wants to go, she can't—she has classes that night. This is the first that Tony is hearing about Eilis' college career, BTW.
    • When Eilis mentions her weird interaction with the bookkeeper about Mr. Rosenblum, Tony acts strange and maintains "the same serious expression on his face" for the rest of the night (3.437).
    • Instead of going to the movies, Tony just walks her home from work on Thursday. They end up seeing the premiere of the hot new flick Singin' in the Rain the following Saturday, though.
    • From then on, Tony makes it a ritual to walk Eilis home from class on Thursdays, while Saturdays are movie nights.
    • Finally, Eilis decides to write Rose about Tony. She does it on the low, however, sending it directly to Rose's office so that her mom doesn't see. She leaves out the "plumber" thing, though.
    • She and Tony run into Father Flood soon after, which seems orchestrated by Rose. The two bros get along splendidly, however—all "Dodger fan[s]" are pretty much blood brothers (3.447).
    • Eilis is doing well at work, too—she even regularly lunches with Miss Fortini. For her part, Miss Fortini thinks that Tony sounds great and that Eilis should lock that down.
    • Things seem to be heading that way, anyway. Eilis promises to meet Tony's family after exams, which is scary enough, but then Tony offhandedly references their future kids. Eek!
    • He also starts telling her that he loves her, which she responds to with silence. Finally, after he says it to her once more outside of her apartment, she rushes inside without saying goodbye.
    • She sees him again after class that Thursday. She actually creeps on him for a bit, watching him from afar, which only makes her feel tenderer towards him.
    • They greet each other and Eilis blurts out that she'll say "I love you" if he does from now on. Uh... it's a little roundabout, but okay? Tony, naturally, is giddy.
    • Eilis finds her exams "easier than she had expected" (3.499). Of course, the truly scary event is still to come—meeting Tony's family.
    • Tony has three brothers: Laurence and Maurice, who are older, and little Frank, who's eight. Everybody looks legit Italian, unlike Tony.
    • They live in a small place. The three brothers share one bedroom, while their parents fold out a bed in the living room when night comes.
    • Eilis is blown away by their spaghetti. Better than potatoes, right? Frank is a charming little rapscallion, and he proudly tells her how much he hates Irish people.
    • Suddenly, there's a knock on the door, which Tony's dad answers. He returns and tells Tony that he has to do a plumbing job to do right now, which is super-lame.
    • That leaves Eilis alone with the family, which is a little awkward. They eat what seems like tiramisu and drink espresso—these guys are so Italian.
    • Frank tells Eilis that Tony's last girlfriend broke up with him after he took her on a ride at Coney Island that had made her puke.
    • Eilis and Tony actually decide to go to Coney Island sometime soon. This shocks Miss Fortini—Eilis better start working on her figure now because Italians are crazy picky about that.
    • Miss Fortini gets some bathing suits delivered to the store so that Eilis can try them on. It's really awkward—Miss Fortini seems awfully pushy about seeing Eilis naked—but it works.
    • One night, she finds a letter from Brooklyn College–"she had passed her first-year exams in all subjects" (3.589). Huzzah! She decides to hit up Father Flood to let him know the good news.
    • Father Flood is psyched. Eilis tries to pay her tuition for the next semester, but Father Flood explains that he already got a parishioner to take care of it. What a hustler!
    • Tony's excited too, so they set a date to go to the beach. In preparation, Eilis buys a new hat, a beach towel, and a revolutionary new invention called "sunglasses" (3.612).
    • They head out the next Sunday. It's a long subway ride, so they immediately get into the water when they arrive.
    • Because Tony isn't a great swimmer, they stay in the shallows and cuddle up on each other. Also, Tony is either really excited or he has an eel in his pocket, if you catch our drift.
    • It's getting so hot that they're about to turn on the air conditioning at Bartocci's. Unfortunately, summer also means that Tony can't talk about anything except for baseball.
    • Finally, Eilis bites the bullet and goes to a game with Tony and his bros. She's grown fond of all of them: the quiet and nerdy Maurice, the brash Laurence, and the lovably goofy Frank.
    • It takes a bit, but she eventually gets into the game. She also has her first beer and hot dog combo, which warms our hearts.
    • Although she spends Christmas "in the parish hall" once again, she spends most of the holiday season with Tony (3.665). That's when he tells her about his family's big plans.
    • Maurice and Laurence recently bought a plot of land on Long Island, where they plan to build five houses. Three will be sold and one will be for the family—the fifth, Tony hopes, will belong to him and Eilis.
    • This, of course, is Tony's way of asking Eilis to marry him. She has no idea how to respond and merely smiles—she ends up writing Rose for advice a few days later.
    • A few weeks later, she's surprised to see Father Flood stroll into Bartocci's. She's even more surprised when Miss Fortini asks her to come downstairs.
    • To our horror, Father Flood reveals that Rose is dead—she passed away in the middle of the previous night. Eilis' mom will be calling her later that night so they can grieve together.
    • Eilis is in shock, but she takes the call. Rose has apparently known that she's had a "bad heart" for a while, but has been keeping it secret from the family (3.734).
    • Eilis is sobbing by the end of the call and keeps sobbing all the way home. Tony is there waiting when she arrives, and they all decide to go to mass tomorrow to commemorate Rose.
    • She decides to keep working all that week to keep her mind off her grief. Even though they don't go out on dates much, Tony helps her through things as best as she can.
    • One night, she finds a letter from her brother Jack. He explains that he and the bros need to go back to England, and that she should return home to help mom out.
    • Impulsively, Eilis decides to go to Tony's house in the middle of the night. Her arrival wakes up the entire clan, so she and Tony head off to a diner.
    • Tony is hard to read when she explains the letter to him. He walks her home, and when he hugs her goodbye, she starts sobbing.
    • Eilis is too distraught to go inside alone, so she quietly leads Tony into her room. They end up on the bed, then start kissing, and then…
    • Well, you get it, right? It's not exactly pleasant for Eilis (Tony seems—ahem—well-endowed), but they end up doing the dirty deed twice that night.
    • The next day, she finds Mrs. Kehoe acting super weird. Uh-oh—did she hear? It certainly seems like that, especially because Diana keeps dropping subtle hints...
    • She sees Tony two nights later and makes him promise to go to confession with her. She decides to go to Tony's church, where no one knows her, and it's actually pretty painless.
    • When Eilis comes home, she finds that Mrs. Kehoe has put a lock on the basement, which forces her to use the front door. She claims that it's because of creepers, but Eilis knows what's up.
    • She sees Father Flood after mass and he looks at her strangely. Oh no—did Mrs. Kehoe tell him too? She decides to visit him after eating "lunch with Tony and his family" (3.868).
    • It seems like he knows what happened, but doesn't come out and say it. Without having any reason for her visit, however, Eilis blurts out that she wants to return to Ireland for a month.
    • Though she hadn't planned it, Eilis is excited by this turn of events. She's so nice to Mrs. Kehoe that the lady even takes the lock off her gate.
    • As her second semester exams approach, she finally tells Tony that she's visiting home. He looks nervous, then asks her to "'marry [him] before" she leaves (3.905). He doesn't need anything fancy—just a simple courthouse ceremony.
    • She has dinner at his house the Sunday before the ceremony, and it seems like his family has guessed what's up. To be honest, that sort of excites her.
    • They get married soon after exams, lickety split. They go out to Coney Island afterwards, and she looks at her ring with happiness.
  • Part 4

    • Eilis' mother is showing off Rose's bedroom—she hasn't touched a thing since Rose passed away. Eilis is exhausted—both physically and emotionally—and just wants to go to sleep.
    • As of yet, however, she hasn't told her mom about her recent nuptials. We smell tension!
    • She feels a little better after the nap. It's time for work though—mom needs help writing personalized responses to all of the "letters of condolence" she received after Rose's death (4.16).
    • By the second day of this, Eilis is going out of her gourd. She decides to visit her friends Annette and Nancy (who's getting married to George, the dude from the first section of the novel) and invite them over to hang the following night.
    • The next day, she and her mom place wreaths on Rose's grave. It's a confusing and emotional experience.
    • She meets up with Nancy and Annette that night and Nancy explains that her wedding will be four days after Eilis' planned departure date. Ruh-oh. Eilis thinks that she can make it, though.
    • She plans to go to the beach with Nancy, Annette, and George Sheridan the following Thursday. Her mom tries to give her some of Rose's old clothes, but Eilis refuses them.
    • Suddenly, Eilis realizes that she has yet to write Tony. That's no good. She picks up "special envelopes for letters to America" and tells Tony that she's staying a few extra days (4.74).
    • When her buddies pick her up to go to the beach, she's shocked to see Jim Farrell (the dude she met at a dance way back at the beginning of the book) there instead of Annette. It's a trap!
    • Jim definitely tries to get all couple-y with her, which is complicated because no one knows that Eilis is married. She plays along—hesitantly—but feels a little guilty.
    • When she returns home, her mom tells her that the "Davises' offices"—where Rose used to work—needs some extra help bookkeeping, and asked about her (4.94). She agrees.
    • She also has a letter from Tony (oh no—did her mom see?), which is warm and loving and only makes her feel weirder about everything. She really wants to let the cat out of the bag.
    • She goes to work at the office the next morning. It's a breeze for her, and Eilis is psyched to finally put her schooling to work.
    • Eilis goes back to the beach with Nancy, George, and Jim that Sunday. Jim asks her to go into the water with him, and she agrees so as not to embarrass him—and bust her secret.
    • At the end of the day, they all take a picture together—with Jim happily embracing Eilis from behind.
    • They decide to party at a hotel and Eilis finds herself taken with Jim—they dance all night and end up making out the whole way home. Whoa.
    • On Monday, she's called back into the office. To her surprise, they offer her a job.
    • When she returns home, she finds "two letters from Tony" (4.188). Oh man... she realizes that she hasn't written him since telling him about the delay and feels all weird inside.
    • She and Jim go out on a date a few days before the wedding. He tells her that his parents are moving to the country, which leaves him the family pub. He's clearly getting at something...
    • Jim picks Eilis and her mom up for the wedding. To be honest, old mommy dearest seems overjoyed to see Eilis back home on the arm of an Irishman like Jim.
    • This all sends Eilis for a loop. She wonders what she would do if Jim asked to marry her and even claims that "she did not love Tony now" (4.226). That was, uh, fast.
    • At the wedding breakfast the next morning, a family friend makes tons of allusions to Eilis and Jim's wedding. Yikes.
    • Afterwards, Eilis and Jim go to the beach. He tells her that they're holding a golf tournament in honor of Rose, but it will happen a few days after she is set to leave. Decisions, decisions…
    • He then tells her that he has had a crush on her since they first met, and that he wants to get engaged. She doesn't give a response, so they just make out a bunch instead.
    • Eilis receives an official invitation to the golf tournament a few days later. She still hasn't made a decision.
    • A day before the event, Eilis visits Rose's grave. To her surprise, she's approached by Mary (from Miss Kelly's shop) who says that ol' Nelly Kelly wants to see her.
    • It's a strange, loaded conversation, during which it becomes clear that Miss Kelly knows about Tony. She must have talked to Mrs. Kehoe or something. This is bad, folks.
    • Eilis decides to depart that day. She makes all of the necessary calls and writes Tony telling him that "she loved him" (4.321). That's not what you told us, Eilis old girl.
    • Her mother is in the kitchen when she returns home. Eilis abruptly blurts out that she's married (which her mom already seems to know…) and that she needs to go back.
    • Her mom agrees and they embrace. Eilis suspects that she had discovered some of her secret letters to Rose while going through Rose's stuff.
    • She packs up the photo from the beach and writes a letter to Jim. She decides to drop it off at his house on the way out so he won't see it until she's long gone.
    • As she rides the train away, she imagines her mom telling Jim that "'she has gone back to Brooklyn'" (4.372).