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Renee Duke: Books

Side Trip

Though eager to explore the Zaidus system, Earth-born adolescents, Meda and Kirsty, aren't too pleased to be doing it as members of an educational tour group that can best be described as boarding school on the move. Most of the places they're forced to visit are really boring, and their chaperone-cum-tutor is a harridan of the highest order. Striking out on their own seems like a much better idea, and even with limited funds and unexpected mishaps, they manage quite well - at first. But thanks to a bratty little brother, a dimension-travelling alien girl, and a handsome alien prince, their independent tour of the Zaidus planets is turning out to be far more educational than their parents had in mind.

- A thoroughly enjoyable tale of a trio of planet-hopping teenagers who end up saving a Prince's Kingdom and keeping one little brother out of jail. Fun and fast reading.
- Meda and Kristy look forward to the edu-tour of multiple planets but the chaperone is bound and determined that no kid in her care is going actually have fun on it. The two girls form a plan to get off the tour and head out on their own, hopping between planets, getting jobs to make money for food and their next ticket. All is going well until they discover Meda's clever little brother has jumped ship as well.
- Then the chase is on! The girls and little brother are joined in their travels by a Jip, a girl who can move between different planes of existence. A very handy skill when the kids are on the run from various evil-doers trying to get a certain item back and won't hesitate to kill to do it. Meda, Kristy, Jip, and bratty brother are on the run and determined to help an alien prince become the Emperor he's destined to be.
- It's a mad dash for the teens, avoiding the men who oppose the prince, a strange man who seems to be chasing them for no reason, and their parents, who will most likely ground them for life for ditching the tour.
- Very well written (as I've come to expect from Ms. Duke). My favorite of hers to date. I hope she turns this into a series.
- Marva Dasef, author of The Witches of Galdorheim series.

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Book One: The Disappearing Rose

What happened to two young princes who disappeared from the Tower of London over five hundred years ago is still quite a mystery. A mystery Dane and Paige Marchand and their cousin, Jack Taisley, can't help wondering about after taking on roles in a medieval documentary for Dane and Paige's filmmaker father. But when an ancient medallion transports them back to the fifteenth century and brings them into contact with the very princes the boys have been playing, they have a chance to learn the truth about the mysterious disappearance of young King Edward the Fifth and his brother Richard, Duke of York. Finding the answer could prove a bit risky, however, especially if the person responsible for the princes' disappearance thinks it might be a good idea to have them disappear as well.

- The Disappearing Rose is a charming story about children helping children and introduces young students to English History in the most delightful way. Three young time travellers, Dane, Paige, and Jack find a magic talisman which transports them to medieval England during the last years of the Wars of the Roses. There they are caught up in one of History's great unsolved mysteries and try to figure out a way to prevent a tragedy.
- With her hands-on approach to History and thorough research of her topic, Ms Duke makes it easy for youngsters to suspend their disbelief and experience the adventure of the three inquisitive children. I liked the way Ms Duke used a modern television- shoot of a medieval documentary to provide suitable clothes for the children to wear and made it possible for them to disappear into the 15th century from time to time.
- Young readers are given the opportunity to make their own judgement as to the character of Richard III and offered a possible solution to the mystery of his missing nephews.
- Review by Wendy Laharner, author of The Unhewn Stone.
- I love how some people are moved to fantasize about saving the Princes in the Tower, or in another book I read recently save Richard III, by using time travel. I enjoyed this book for younger readers very much, still being about 12 at heart, I guess. It presents the basic personalities involved, the political context, and points of history in easy-to-understand language, all wrapped up in an engaging story with likable characters. I wish we did know what happened to the sons of Edward IV, but this story is an emotionally satisfying and plausible idea of what might have been.
- Review by Lesley MacCawley, Sydney, NSW, Australia
- Generally, I liked this book. It was well-written and nicely edited. The history behind the story is fascinating. It sent me off to the internet to research the historical characters. I also liked the description of the Tower being accurate and the up-to-date discovery of Richard III's skeleton.
- Review by Marva Dasef, author of The Witches of Galdorheim series.

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Book Two: The Mud Rose

On this trip into the past, the Time Rose medallion takes Paige, Dane, and Jack to Victorian London and places them in the company of two street-wise young mudlarks. Even though life is very hard for Hetty and Pip, Hetty is leery of seeking help from Dr. Barnardo or other social reformers who might separate her from her younger brother. The Time Rose travellers think they have a way of getting around that little problem, but a bigger one awaits. Jack the Ripper's grisly attacks on women in the East End have the whole city on edge, and it seems that the blood splattered man Hetty and Pip come across late one night doesn't want witnesses on the loose.

Reviews: - This is the second book in Renee Duke's Rose series about time-traveling kids making right the wrongs of the past. This one takes us back to Victorian England. The time-traveling trio of Paige, Dane, and Jack home in with their magical amulet to a sister and brother who mine the mud flats of the Thames for items they can sell. The kids, Hetty and Pip, have no parents or home. They have to make do as so many kids had to in the time period.
- Renee Duke paints us a picture of the poverty of the time period. The present day kids are taken to the 1880s tasked to save Hetty and Pip. But save them from what? Just an impoverished existence or is there more to the story. If you know a bit about history, the name Jack the Ripper should ring a bell. Hetty and Pip are in danger from the notorious murderer, but they're also in danger of an early death from the horrid conditions in which they must live.
- The solution to the problem of Hetty and Pip's survival is the story of the Barnardo school for children, a real institution dedicated to helping the children of the time get an education and find new homes.
- Review by Marva Dasef, author of The Witches of Galdorheim series.

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Book Three: The Spirit Rose

The discovery of an old book provides more information on the medallion, but Paige and Dane will soon be returning to Canada and know it will be several months before they can make another time trip with their cousin Jack. Then, amidst all the preparations for Grantie Etta's one hundred and fifth birthday party, strange things start to happen.

As a result Jack, too, must go to Canada. Once there, it soon becomes apparent that the only way for the Time Rose Travellers to stop the increasingly distressing alterations to their modern-day lives is to venture far into the Okangan Valley's past and locate the syilx girl who has the legendary Arcanus Piece.

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Book Four: The Tangled Rose

The Spirit Rose book currently featured in the Latest Novel spot can then be moved to the row of Other Books on the main page, above the words below, which are just a slight variation on what's already there.

All are available in e-book form from Amazon and Kobo, and print versions can be purchased through Amazon & Red Tuque Books, and at Chapters Indigo, Barnes and Noble bookstores.
The Tangled Rose then has to be added to the actual Books section, along with its synopsis and a review.

On Paige, Dane, and Jack's fourth time trip, the medallion connects them with children living in Pre-WW II Germany. One, Hani, has Down Syndrome. Another, Nicko, is a gypsy.
The Time Rose Travellers know the Nazi regime will soon begin persecuting such 'undesirables', but keeping Hani and Nicko from becoming victims isn't going to be easy.
Plagued by enemies from their own time, and not even sure who they're supposed to be helping, they're meeting with resistance from Nicko, and open hostility from Hani's sister Marta, an ardent member of the Hitler Youth.

The time-traveling Rose series is one of my favorites in both time-travel and the YA genres. The series has taken us from the Tower of London, to the mudlarks on the Thames, to thousands of years in Canada's First Nation past. In each trip, the cousins, Paige, Dane, and Jack, travel back to become help history flow properly. Their task is to find the child in the past to which they're sent who possesses a match to the Rose amulet which expedites the time traveling.
The Tangled Rose takes us on a time trip to pre-war and Nazi Germany. This is a tough subject. How do you write for kids when you're setting them down in the midst of one of the most horrific times in history? How can the kids find the person who they are meant to help during those perilous times?
The first person they see who has a keeper piece (one of the Rose time travel devices) is a girl with Down Syndrome. She definitely needs help having slipped and hanging perilously off a cliff. A gypsy boy, Nicko, helps them rescue Hani. The cousins figure their task may be complete. They've saved a kid in possession of a keeper piece. However, their own amulet doesn't give them the signal that their mission is over.
They discover the keeper piece doesn't belong to the girl they rescued, but to her older sister, Marta. What's worse, Marta has been taken up with the Nazi cause. She's not a pleasant person. She has been indoctrinated into the Nazi ideal. People like her own sister and the gypsy boy who helped rescue her are undesirables. The Third Reich will soon start to eliminate the non-Aryans.
Can the cousins figure out what they're supposed to do to help Marta? Maybe talk her out of being a Jungmädel (Hitler Youth). The cousins decide they need help from Uncle Trevor. Since he had been a piece keeper in his own youth, he can go along on their own time trip to help them figure it out.
Are the time travelers assigned to save Hani, the "defective," Nicko, the gypsy, Marta, the obsessed Nazi, or is it somebody else?
I was totally caught up on the historical period in this book in the series. Renee Duke does an excellent job keeping up with both historical accuracy, the fantasy of the time-traveling children, and drawing the reader along into the next book. The hints are there. The kids will be facing their greatest challenge in the next book in the series. I can hardly wait for it to come out.
- Review by Marva Dasef, author of The Witches of Galdorheim series.

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Book Five: The Volcanic Rose

Work In Progress