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Family Tree

The Family Tree: A perfect vacation read

The Family Tree
by Sherri S. Tepper

Avon Books, $6.99

Review by Margaret Howell

(CNN) -- "The Family Tree" is a science fiction fairy tale with a message, and though its "Save the Earth, Save the Animals" overtones come on a bit strong at times, I found it to be the perfect vacation read.

It offers three intertwining tales that are seemingly unrelated, but as the story unfolds, magic and time travel bring them all together in the present day.

Dora Henry is a police detective who ends her unhappy marriage at the same time she begins to investigate the murder of an animal researcher. Meanwhile -- and no one can explain why -- the plants and trees begin to grow at a phenomenal rate, taking over the town. Things begin to get out of hand and Dora must deal not only with a city in a state of panic, but two more animal researchers are killed and she must track down a possible serial killer.

The other storylines involve people in the future who, for reasons of self preservation, are independently sent on magical quests. It quickly turns out that they are searching for the same thing, and as the traveling party grows, they find the answers they need.

How the storylines come together and how the novel ends is a completely unpredictable twist. "The Family Tree" stretches the limits of your imagination, but if you can put aside the real world, you'll find yourself in a highly entertaining fantasyland.

Margaret Howell is a promotions producer at CNN. She loves writing and cooking.

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