Book Review: French Quarter Knights by Jacob Campbell

Reviewed by JustJen

Title: French Quarter Knights
Author: Jacob Campbell
Heroes: Thaddeus “Tadpole” Merton
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 201 pages
Publisher: JMS Books
Release Date: August 4, 2013
Available at: JMS Books, Amazon, All Romance eBooks & Barnes and Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads & Booklikes

Blurb: After winning millions in a settlement from the church, Thaddeus “Tadpole” Merton has learned to hide things from others — his money, his epilepsy, and his feelings. Now, he searches for love, acceptance, and sexual liberation in 1983 New Orleans.

Leaving behind a reluctant master in Linden and exploring a new lover in Sandy, Tadpole has adventures into a sensual drug-and alcohol-rich world of gay bars, drag clubs, baths, porno theatres, arcades, and hidden sex venues. Yet he also works with a yoga teacher and Zen guide, and questions himself in light of a world beyond the merely physical.

Tadpole seeks friendship and love, a home, and independence. But exploring steamy sensuality seems to counter his romantic need for true love, and he struggles with himself and his desires.

Review:

This story was quite different from what I was expecting.  It is the story of Thaddeus, or Tadpole, a young man who has had a pretty difficult life up until now.  He was abused for many years as a child, then as a young adult, after which, he spent three years in a psychiatric hospital against his will.  He was “saved” by Linden whom he then became an indebted slave/servant to when Linden gave him a place to live in exchange for working in the homeless center and being Linden’s companion.  After a year with Linden, Tad felt it was time that he became more independent.  This then becomes the main theme of the story.

Until this point, Linden has basically been showing Tad the ropes of real gay life.  Tad has only ever known mutual sex among the other boys at the monastery.  As he takes his life into his own hands, he begins to explore his own sexuality in the thriving city of New Orleans in the early 1980s.  He takes you on quite an adventure, from one-on-one encounters to full out orgies, with bath house visits in between.  This becomes a vivid tale of discovery for Tad, as every time he thinks he has figured out what he wants, he is drawn to something else that changes his feelings.  He is often confused and torn, struggling to understand himself.  Add to this his physical/mental issues, and he has quite the rough road.

In the middle of all of this is Sandy, a guy who hit things off with Tad when they met out one day.  Tad goes from wanting to be with Sandy to not wanting to be in a relationship.  He is truly all over the place with his thoughts and feelings.  Everyone in his life seems to be using him for one reason or another, and you just find yourself constantly rooting for him to figure things out.

The descriptions of life in New Orleans at this time give you a real sense of being there.  This was right before AIDS really came to light, and there is definitely a transition from actions of the characters before and after.  There is quite a bit of sex, in various forms, and it is all extremely well written.  I savored this story, which was truly unlike any I’ve read previously.  It is, in no way, your typical romance.  More of Tad’s past can be found in Amen’s Boy, which I look forward to reading in addition to other stories by Mr. Campbell.

Overall Impression: I loved it.

*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*

Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, JustJen's Reviews, LGBT, Published in 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: French Quarter Knights by Jacob Campbell

  1. Trish

    This sounds really good. Love stories evolving around N.O

  2. Great review. It’s already on my TBR list.

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