The Lovely Bones

Lindsey Salmon Character Analysis

Susie’s sister Lindsey is just one year younger than her, and Susie takes pride in being the eldest. When Susie’s life is cut short, however, she must accept the pain—and, occasionally, the joy—of watching her younger sister soon surpass her in age and in experience. Lindsey is stoic, self-contained, and headstrong. She shows little emotion in the wake of her sister’s death, and it is only once she starts dating her classmate Samuel Heckler that she begins to open up and let go. Susie, watching Lindsey and Samuel’s relationship unfold, feels a peculiar mix of jealousy, desire, pride, and happiness. However, as Lindsey, frustrated by the lack of forward movement in Susie’s case, takes matters into her own hands and begins investigating Mr. Harvey, Susie suddenly understands that though her little sister might surpass her, she will never stop loving her or fighting for her. Susie’s vicarious living is done most directly through Lindsey, but as time passes and as the gulf between them widens, each sister learns—slowly, painfully, but surely—how to live without the other.

Lindsey Salmon Quotes in The Lovely Bones

The The Lovely Bones quotes below are all either spoken by Lindsey Salmon or refer to Lindsey Salmon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Back Bay edition of The Lovely Bones published in 2002.
Chapter 10 Quotes

Under a rowboat that was too old and worn to float, Lindsey lay down on the earth with Samuel Heckler, and he held her. Samuel's back was flush against the ground, and he brought my sister close in to his body to protect her from the dampness of the quick summer rain. Their breath began to heat the small space beneath the boat, and he could not stop it—his penis stiffened inside his jeans.

Lindsey reached her hand over.

"I'm sorry…” He began.

"I'm ready," my sister said.

At fourteen, my sister sailed away from me into a place I'd never been. In the walls of my sex there was horror and blood, in the walls of hers there were windows.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Lindsey Salmon (speaker), Samuel Heckler (speaker)
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 16 Quotes

My neighbors and teachers, friends and family, circled an arbitrary spot not far from where I'd been killed. My father, sister and brother heard the singing again once they were outside. Everything in my father leaned and pitched toward the warmth and light. He wanted so badly to have me remembered in the minds and hearts of everyone. I knew something as I watched: almost everyone was saying goodbye to me. I was becoming one of many little-girl-losts. They would go back to their homes and put me to rest, a letter from the past never reopened or reread.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Jack Salmon, Lindsey Salmon, Buckley Salmon
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

At twenty-one Lindsey was many things I would never become, but I barely grieved this list anymore. Still, I roved where she roved. I collected my college diploma and rode on the back of Samuel's bike, clinging on to him with my arms wrapped around his waist, pressing into his back for warmth . . .

Okay, it was Lindsey. I realized that. But in watching her I found I could get lost more than with anyone else.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Lindsey Salmon, Samuel Heckler
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 18 Quotes

Above his bed the clock ticked off the minutes and I thought of the game Lindsey and I had played in the yard together: "he loves me/he loves me not" picked out on a daisy's petals. I could hear the clock casting my own two greatest wishes back to me in this same rhythm: "Die for me/don't die for me, die for me/don't die for me." I could not help myself, it seemed, as I tore at his weakening heart. If he died, I would have him forever. Was this so wrong to want?

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Jack Salmon, Lindsey Salmon, Buckley Salmon
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 19 Quotes

On the flight to Philadelphia, she sat alone in the middle of a row of three seats. She could not help but think of how, if she were a mother traveling, there would be two seats filled beside her. One for Lindsey. One for Buckley. But though she was, by definition, a mother, she had at some point ceased to be one too. She couldn't claim that right and privilege after missing more than half a decade of their lives. She now knew that being a mother was a calling, something plenty of young girls dreamed of being. But my mother had never had that dream, and she had been punished in the most horrible and unimaginable way for never having wanted me. I watched her on the plane, and I sent a wish into the clouds for her release. Her body grew heavy with the dread of what would come but in this heaviness was at least relief. The stewardess handed her a small blue pillow and for a little while she fell asleep.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Abigail Salmon, Lindsey Salmon, Buckley Salmon
Page Number: 266
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 23 Quotes

As I watched my family sip champagne, I thought about how their lives trailed backward and forward from my death and then, I saw, as Samuel took the daring step of kissing Lindsey in a room full of family, became borne aloft away from it. These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.

Related Characters: Susie Salmon (speaker), Lindsey Salmon, Samuel Heckler
Page Number: 319-320
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lindsey Salmon Character Timeline in The Lovely Bones

The timeline below shows where the character Lindsey Salmon appears in The Lovely Bones. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...Harvey—her father was always telling friends and neighbors embarrassing anecdotes about Susie had her sister Lindsey. (full context)
Chapter 2
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
The next morning, Jack pours a bottle of scotch down the sink. Lindsey, Susie’s younger sister, asks him why. Jack confesses that he is afraid he will drink... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...knocks on the Salmons’ front door. In the living room, he sits down with Jack, Lindsey, and Abigail and reveals that the police have found yet another personal item of Susie’s.... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...going forward, the police are now working under the assumption that Susie has been killed. Lindsey overhears this, but it is something that she has already known, on some level. Abigail,... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Susie watches as Lindsey sits alone in her room and works on numbing and “hardening” herself. Abigail tells Lindsey... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Mr. Caden tells Lindsey that she is the only Salmon girl now—she must carry on her sister’s legacy, and... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Back in the gazebo, Susie watches as Lindsey gets up in the middle of the night and creeps across the hall into Susie’s... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Lindsey returns home, and Jack is relieved to have some noise and company in the house.... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
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Jack knocks on Lindsey’s door, and Lindsey shouts for him to go away. Jack begs Lindsey to let him... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...somber. Buckley soon announces that there is a man outside—it is Samuel Heckler, one of Lindsey’s school friends, who has come to visit her. She gets up to greet him, leaving... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
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In the kitchen, Samuel gives Lindsey a present. She opens it and finds a necklace inside—it is half of a heart.... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...her a problem” in the classroom. One morning, when Ruth finds a pair of gloves—which Lindsey had purchased for Susie for Christmas, and placed at the edge of the cornfield—she looks... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Family and Community Theme Icon
...out to Jack, who is sitting on the porch, that she needs a stiff drink. Lindsey runs away into the house, and Grandma Lynn remarks that Lindsey hates her. Inside the... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...coat, Grandma Lynn is thin and “starved down.” She used to constantly tell Susie and Lindsey that they, too, needed to starve themselves down, and offered them diet pills each time... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...to grab her “bag o’ magic” and give Abigail a makeover. Abigail is reluctant, but Lindsey asks if Lynn will teach her about makeup, and then Abigail consents to be a... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
The morning of Susie’s memorial, Lindsey sneaks into Susie’s room to steal one of her dresses to wear. She was careful... (full context)
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Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Grandma Lynn appears in the doorway and asks Lindsey to zip up her dress. After Lindsey helps her grandmother, she confesses that she is... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...Susie, and she plans to take it to the guidance counselor on Monday. Ruth notices Lindsey, in makeup, holding hands with Samuel, and worries that Lindsey is “subjugating” herself to traditional... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...the fact that Clarissa is alive while her own daughter is dead. Clarissa notices that Lindsey is wearing a dress she had once lent to Susie, but she knows that she... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...Dewitt, and the Reverend Strick all speak—but Jack and Abigail sit numbly through the memorial. Lindsey, too, does not react to Samuel’s attempts to squeeze her hand and reassure her. At... (full context)
Chapter 10
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...the symposium as well, and as she pulls up in her father’s car, she spots Lindsey right away. On her nametag, instead of “Salmon,” Lindsey has filled her last name in... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
The following morning, in the dining hall, Ruth and Lindsey run into one another at breakfast. Ruth knowingly asks Lindsey what the fish on her... (full context)
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
As the weeks go on, Lindsey and Samuel find themselves—unchaperoned and alone in the heat of summer—consumed by lust for one... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
...begins preparing early, collecting orthodontic rubber bands from kids with braces for his design, while Lindsey nicks tinfoil from the camp cook for hers. Lindsey and Samuel talk together about how... (full context)
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Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
On one of the last nights of camp, Ruth creeps into Lindsey’s dorm. She tells Lindsey that she has just had a dream about Susie, and apologizes... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
...the camp: “CAN YOU GET AWAY WITH CRIME? HOW TO COMMIT THE PERFECT MURDER.” As Lindsey arrives at breakfast, she is oblivious to the fliers, and joins the food line. Artie... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Word spreads quickly through the symposium: Lindsey’s sister is Susie Salmon, the dead girl. Children chatter about how being stabbed to death... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
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Lindsey and Samuel, having left the breakfast tent, huddle together under a rowboat down by the... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
One morning, while Lindsey is still away at the symposium, Jack Salmon wakes up early. He checks on Buckley,... (full context)
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...the police. In early August, Len stops by the Salmon house to set some boundaries. Lindsey lets Len in—she has just returned from camp. Jack greets Len, and Buckley—who has begun... (full context)
Chapter 12
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...morning, the sleeping Salmon family is awakened by police sirens down the street. Abigail instructs Lindsey to go wake Jack, who she assumes has fallen asleep in his study, but Lindsey... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Lindsey calls Buckley’s friend’s Nate’s mother, who comes to take Buckley. She then calls Samuel, who... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...of her mother from the photograph—the version of her mother who had never had Susie, Lindsey, and Buckley. Abigail asks Len why his wife killed herself, and he tells her that... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...home early, and he and Abigail would have “Mommy and Daddy time:” on Thursday afternoons, Lindsey and Susie were told to stay quiet on the opposite side of the house. Susie... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...hall, Hal stops Abigail just before she goes into Jack’s room, letting her know that Lindsey is in there. He lets her know that he brought Lindsey over, and that Buckley... (full context)
Chapter 13
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
In the fall of 1974, when Lindsey returns to junior high, she is not just the sister of the dead girl, but... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
One afternoon shortly before Thanksgiving, Jack finds Lindsey attempting to shave her legs for the first time. Jack helps her, but realizes as... (full context)
Chapter 14
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Lindsey cases George Harvey’s house for a week. She has been training with the junior high... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
On November 26th, Lindsey watches from the soccer field as Mr. Harvey leaves his house. She hangs back from... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Lindsey looks around the basement, finding it neat and orderly, with nothing particularly odd sticking out.... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
As Lindsey moves through the house, Susie lists the names of the girls and women Harvey has... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Lindsey heads upstairs and into George Harvey’s room. She sees a sketchbook on the bedside table,... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Upstairs, Lindsey opens Harvey’s bedroom window and goes through it. Mr. Harvey arrives upstairs just as Lindsey... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
When Lindsey walks in the front door of her own home Jack, Abigail, Grandma Lynn, and Samuel... (full context)
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Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...away from the gazebo, she considers how grateful she is that no harm came to Lindsey that day. Lindsey’s death would mean her loss on Earth for the rest of their... (full context)
Chapter 15
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Now, as Mr. Harvey watches Lindsey race through his yard, his heart beats wildly before calming. He sees that his notebook... (full context)
Chapter 16
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Lindsey, at home in the living room, looks out the window and sees a stream of... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
Inside the house, Lindsey continues urging Abigail to take part in the vigil. Abigail insists that their family has... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
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Jack’s car pulls into the driveway. Lindsey meets Jack in the mud room and asks him if he wants to go to... (full context)
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
As Jack, Lindsey, and Buckley approach the field, Jack becomes emotional. He wants Susie to live on in... (full context)
Snapshots
Justice and Injustice Theme Icon
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Sex Theme Icon
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...Mr. Harvey packed up and left. There has been no sign of him. One day, Lindsey asks Hal Heckler to give her a ride to the police station, so that she... (full context)
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...easy to get, physical, and completely anonymous. As Abigail makes her way west, she sends Lindsey and Buckley postcards from every town she stops in. Once in California, she spends her... (full context)
Chapter 17
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At twenty-one years old, Lindsey is many things that Susie will never become, but Susie no longer “grieves” this fact.... (full context)
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Lindsey and Samuel, searching for more cover, tramp through the underbrush until they come upon an... (full context)
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...Heckler has made it back from the ceremony on his motorcycle, so the fact that Lindsey and Samuel have not worries him. Buckley, now 12, knocks on the door, reassuring him... (full context)
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Back in the old Victorian house, Samuel proposes to Lindsey. He tells he that he wants to refurbish the house with her by his side,... (full context)
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Desire and Longing Theme Icon
...while Hal and Lynn are baking brownies in the kitchen, the doorbell rings. It is Lindsey and Samuel at the door, soaking wet. Buckley fetches towels for them, and Jack lights... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
The day after Lindsey and Samuel’s graduation, Susie joins Ruth on her walk. Ruth wanders through Central Park with... (full context)
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That weekend, Buckley wakes early. Buckley is not athletic like Lindsey, and instead enjoys gardening. Buckley comes out onto the porch with a box of Susie’s... (full context)
Chapter 19
Tragedy, Grief, Alienation, and Isolation Theme Icon
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...Lynn reveals that Jack has been asking for her, and also lets Abigail know that Lindsey and Samuel are engaged. Before she hangs up, Lynn warns Abigail of one more thing:... (full context)
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When Abigail disembarks the plane in Philadelphia, she barely recognizes Lindsey, who is waiting for her at the gate, or Samuel, who stands by her side.... (full context)
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On the way to the parking garage, Abigail apologizes for lying to Lindsey—their eyes meet, and the secret of Len hangs in the air between them. Once in... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...Connecticut, rain falls on the tin-roofed shack where Mr. Harvey is sleeping—he is dreaming of Lindsey and the number on the back of her jersey flashing at him as she ran... (full context)
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Jack asks Abigail how it was to see Buckley and Lindsey, and she admits that it was unbelievably hard. Jack confesses to Abigail that he fell... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...the day. Abigail is at the hospital with Jack, reading to him from the newspaper. Lindsey is at home alone. Mr. Harvey is driving through the neighborhood, and soon circles onto... (full context)
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Harvey passes the Salmon house, and can see Lindsey in the upstairs window. Susie sees a group of people beginning to come down the... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...a nurse helps Jack into a wheelchair—it is time for him to go home. Buckley, Lindsey, and Abigail ride down in the elevator with him, and when the doors open on... (full context)
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As the Salmons unpack the car, Lindsey asks her mother if she is going to hurt Jack again. Abigail assures her that... (full context)
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...to have Abigail and Jack back home, and how honored he is to be marrying Lindsey. As Susie watches her family rejoice in one another’s love and company, she considers “the... (full context)
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...Samuel mentions the Gothic Revival house on the side of the road that he and Lindsey are dreaming of refurbishing. Ray asks if the house has a big hole in the... (full context)
Bones
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Lindsey and Samuel marry, and soon begin clearing the lot around the empty house on Route... (full context)
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Susie describes watching Lindsey build a garden outside her and Samuel’s new home. She works in the garden every... (full context)