Ursula, Under by Ingrid Hill
It was a neat idea to go back in Ursula’s chain of ancestors, but I didn’t feel like they were connected. It’s not so much a novel, as the front cover claims, as a collection of short stories. The long length was not to its benefit.
Two-year-old Ursula Wong – part Chinese, part Finnish – falls down a disused mine shaft in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Soon the entire country is raptly focused on the dangerous effort to rescue her. As it follows that effort, we travel along the chain of ancestors, across two thousand years, whose lives culminate in the fragile miracle of a little girl underground. We meet a Chinese alchemist from the third century B.C., the orphaned playmate of a seventeenth century Swedish queen, and Ursula’s great-great-grandfather, who died in a mine accident that eerily foreshadows hers.