After The Edge of the Cloud, A Pattern of Roses is my favourite KM Peyton novel. I am young enough that I read some of Kathy’s books as a teenager but ten years or so after they were first published. This is one of them. After I read the Flambards trilogy (as it was then) I moved onto A Pattern of Roses. This cover makes it look spookier than it is and I’m glad the copy I borrowed from the library was the original hardback or I might have given it a miss!
A Pattern of Roses tells two stories: a contemporary one featuring two teenagers unsure of their way in life, and the Edwardian history Tim and Rebecca are trying to unearth. I had no problem at all with the latter but the contemporary part felt very old-fashioned to me ten years after its publication. And yet I had no problems at all with the Chalet School which was more than fifty years old. Perhaps the distance is the issue. Tim and Rebecca were close enough in time for me think of them as being modern whereas the Chalet School pupils were clearly of a different age.
Anyway that’s a musing for another time. A Pattern of Roses explores what it means to have what the characters refer to as ‘perfect spiritual grace’ which they define as a contented frame of mind. There are parallels in the two stories but also a realisation by the modern protagonists that their choices are much wider than they would have been sixty years earlier. Not that this extent necessarily makes decisions any easier. In fact the opposite might well be the case.