Darkness behind a privileged life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2009, 12:00am

The Robber Baron's Daughter
Jamila Gavin
Published by Egmont
ISBN 978 1 4052 4293 6

Thirteen year-old Nettie lives a life of privilege. Her parents are not just rich, they are mega-rich. Her father is an important businessman and Nettie has maids and private tutors to provide everything she needs.

Daddy gives his darling daughter everything and they live in a massive mansion in a very exclusive area of London. Nettie is very lucky to live a life like this. Or is she?

Nettie is lonely and recently, she has become aware of a strange boy who appears and then suddenly vanishes as she wanders alone through the empty rooms of her vast home. Is he real, or is he a product of Nettie's lonely imagination?

Nettie wonders whether to tell her tutor - Miss Kovachev - about the boy. Miss Kovachev is the one point of affection in Nettie's privileged but lonely life - until one day she suddenly disappears without a word. Nettie wants to know what happened but her parents refuse to tell her. What are they hiding?

The Robber Baron's Daughter is a quietly sinister novel, even if the title does give a little away. But the plot device of the reader suspecting a lot more than the central character of the story is well managed. Nettie is about to learn that her world is a much crueller place than she could ever have imagined.