I loved Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin, even though there was much that was evil in the story. The Robber Baron’s Daughter is the next of Jamila’s books for older children. Can’t quite decide what age it’s for, though, as the “fairy tale princess” part is more childish, and the “illegal people trafficking” part of necessity is older.
Nettie is twelve and lives a life of unimaginable luxury with her parents in London. Slowly, very slowly, she begins to understand that all is not well in her family and in their home. I’d like to say that she makes friends with Benny, the boy from the other side (not a ghost; just a servant’s child), except I don’t feel she really does. Nettie loves the ballet, and learns to dance from her great aunt, a former ballerina. Benny, on the other hand, does all the legwork trying to find Nettie’s tutor Miss Kovachev, who has vanished without a trace.
Jamila does a good, if shocking, job of showing how illegal immigrants turn up here, and why. There is an uneasy difference between the wealth of Nettie’s family, and the lives of Miss Kovachev, Benny and Nettie’s friend from school, Raisa. It’s almost too much to take in; the fairy tale and the awful reality.