小说的布局非常不符合一般的阅读规律，即童年故事过长，而成年后的故事又过于仓促。看第一部，仿佛作者的用意是在讲一个儿童故事，但第二部的爱恨情仇又将我们推进普通小说的藩篱。特别是结尾更是与众不同，兄妹二人合葬的墓碑上竟然写着这样一句话：In their death they were not divided. （死亡不能再将他们分离）。不同寻常的表达和写法让读者意识到这是一部描写兄妹感情的作品，而其他人的出现，包括曾有感情纠葛的男女角色们都是这对兄妹的配角。
"But it's always the same, Maggie," said Tom, with the little frown he put on when he was about to be justifiably severe. "You're always setting yourself up above me and every one else, and I've wanted to tell you about it several times....you should leave it to me to take care of my mother and you, and not put yourself forward. You think you know better than any one, but you're almost always wrong. I can judge much better than you can." （“但还不是一样，麦琪。”汤姆皱着眉头说，表情严肃。“你总是以一副高姿态凌驾于我和众人之上，我早就想告诉你了……你应该让我来照顾你和妈妈而不是自己站在前头。你总是自以为比别人懂得多，但你永远是错的。我对事物的判断比你强多了。”）
He was looking into her deep, deep eyes, far off and mysterious at the starlit blackness, and yet very near, and timidly loving. Maggie sat perfectly still–perhaps for moments, perhaps for minutes–until the helpless trembling had ceased, and there was a warm glow on her check. （他看着她深邃的眼眸，有如神秘而遥远的夜空中闪烁的明星，然而又是极相近的，带着温润的爱意。麦琪静静地坐着——一忽，又一会儿，无助的颤抖渐渐止息，脸颊上泛着温热的潮红。）
短短两句话，却让一个少女不安的内心跃然纸上。特别是perhaps for moments, perhaps for minutes这一渐进式叠句的运用极具特色，仿佛时间突然被拉长放大，滴答的钟声催促着心跳，笔触细腻到针尖上。而读者也跟着慌乱、不知所措，既不愿看到不伦的发生，却又忍不住希望有情人不要错过。最终，a warm glow on her check一句预示着主人公在一番挣扎后的心理选择，在道德与情感之间做出了决断。短短一段文字中暗流汹涌，读者仿佛亲身经历这一时刻，而那一刻每一个读者都变成了麦琪。
"Maggie," he said, in a deep tone of slow decision, "let us never go home again, till no one can part us,–till we are married."
The unusual tone, the startling words, arrested Maggie's sob, and she sat quite still, wondering; as if Stephen might have seen some possibilities that would alter everything, and annul the wretched facts. （“麦琪，”他说，声音深重，悠长而坚定，“我们不要回家去了，直到无人能将我们分开——直到我们结婚。”