The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks

Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins/. (Montague Siblings: Bk. 3). Dec. 2021. 592p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062916013.
Gr 9 Up–Adventure, ahoy! Nineteen-year-old Lord Adrian Montague is “sensitive as a new bruise,” the secretly liberal son of a repressive father, and suspects that the mysterious death of his mother has something to do with the famous ghost ship The Flying Dutchman—is it any wonder that he’s a nervous wreck? He decides to investigate the reason for his mother’s death and on the way, comes upon a series of startling revelations, beginning with the existence of his two pugnacious older siblings, Monty and Felicity. While Adrian’s search for The Flying Dutchman takes him from the slums of London and the pirate republics of Morocco to the university crypts of Amsterdam and Icelandic ice fields, the more important journey is inward, as Monty and Felicity help him navigate and manage his anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Lee draws a fine line, balancing Adrian’s beliefs in the supernatural with the potential that he is haunted not by external forces but by his own mind. The novel palliates Adrian’s insecurity with Monty’s abrasive, bawdy charm and Felicity’s uncompromising intellect. While sibling bonds take center stage in supporting Adrian’s grieving process, fans of Monty and Percy will find satisfaction, too. Lee’s writing is as exquisite as ever, in both the nuanced rendering of Adrian’s emotional landscape and the gritty world surrounding him, with specific details, from coffee that’s “viscous like saliva” to the handprints left by abandoned monkeys in a sailor’s bar.
VERDICT Fans and newcomers to Lee’s trilogy will delight in a swashbuckling tale grounded in compassion and love.

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