My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have a great love for KM Peyton. She’s one of the authors that has defined my attitude towards children’s literature, to what it can and could be and to what it so very often is. And so it was with great, gleeful, giddy delight that I picked this one up.
A Pattern of Roses is a dual narrative story, balancing modern day Tim Ingram’s life against the story of Tom Inskip who lived in the same house many years ago. It’s a coming of age, timeslip, sort of story which plays the tensions of the boys lives against each others and it’s one that Peyton, as ever, delivers.
“A brief, flaming sunset was scorching the horizon, inked over by a mesh of old elms and black hedgerow and circling rocks.”
If you’ve not discovered Peyton yet, that’s how she writes. A sort of vivid understatement, a painterly writer that draws her images together with a very precise control and vivid skill. She is intoxicating to read for me because I always find something new in her work. Here, she catches that subtle beauty of falling in love when you don’t ever know what love is:
“[She] put out her hand and touched his. His own hand shied away, frightened, but hers followed and took it very firmly and held it. She still walked along, not saying anything, with the primroses round her neck, and he walked beside her, very carefully, feeling that the day had come to a standstill.”
She makes me cry does Peyton, and she makes me very envious. She makes me cry at how she can just – capture – things and hold them and make you see them. She’s one of, if not, the greatest writer of children’s literature that I’ve ever read.