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Forbidden Rome

An Exciting and Captivating Romance

by Mario Dell'Olio

About FORBIDDEN ROME

A story of self-discovery, disillusionment, and coming of age, Mario’s newest book, Forbidden Rome, follows Kevin and Anthony’s journey to find themselves and each other in the 80s.


Forbidden Rome takes you on a journey to Rome where those friends discover the meaning of love. Anthony ends up falling for Kevin, and they must choose to either live with this secret or risk the consequences from those around them. The fervor of passions realized, and the frustration of unreturned love washes over the hearts of Anthony and Kevin as they wrestle with what they truly desire.


From clandestine sexual escapades to heartfelt expressions of love, each man must choose their own path forward. With escalating pressures from both home and their religion, Anthony and Kevin’s love is tested, and they must both decide if their love is worth risking everything they’ve built for themselves, their future career, dreams of inspiring others, and their new-found relationship.


How do they come to terms with being gay in the 1980s? Can their love survive the onslaught of homophobia? Packed with raw emotion, Forbidden Rome will rile you out of your comfort zone to root for these young men as they discover what’s most important in life: love.


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Three passionate young men travel to Rome eager to begin an exciting new chapter of their lives. International studies amid ancient ruins and romantic fountains expose them to an extraordinary new world.


Wonderment, homesickness, and adventure transform into the need for human touch and comfort. Anthony falls in love with Kevin leading to a passionate affair that can only endure in secret.


Fearing the consequences of being discovered, they cling to each other and their newfound love. Can their clandestine love affair survive the foolishness of youth? Will their newly discovered passions win out over their ambitions? Journey with them as their forbidden love is tested by passion, prejudice, and ambition.


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Forbidden Rome is a rewrite and retelling of the critically acclaimed LGBTQ+ biographical fiction romance "New Men: Bonds of Brotherhood: A Romantic Journey of Self-Discovery Inspired by True Stories." In this brand-new edition, chapters have been rearranged, a few scenes were deleted, and new scenes were added. It contains a new beginning and a previously-unseen and exciting new ending that differs from the original book. The characters, general idea, and location of the story stayed true to the original.

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Praise & Reviews

"I absolutely loved following each man's story, background, and bias as situations arose with members of the church and their student groups. It was heartbreaking and tender, packed with real and raw emotion that just pulled at your heartstrings and gave the reader a lot to think about. Such an inspired story that I couldn't put down!" - Ash Knight, author


"I absolutely devoured this story! It provides an inside look at a group of young seminarians trying to navigate through the duplicity, corruption, hypocrisy, and traumatic experiences of the religious systems perpetuated by the Catholic Church. I loved the different points of view of the characters during the 1980s and their insights on love, self-identity, and self-realization... the struggle between good and evil is revealed within the delusion perpetrated by the powerful men of the Vatican City... a must-read!" - Lali A. Love, award-winning best-selling author


"Dell'Olio flawlessly details the conflict of being gay and Catholic in an intolerant time. He opens a window into priesthood, Church politics, and corruption. This book is perfect for anyone dreaming of something more, finding the strength to believe in yourself, or searching for where you belong. One of the easiest five stars I've ever given." - Halo Scot, author


"A complex journey of immersive self-discovery between faith and identity. A great read, talented author." - Rory Michaelson, author


"This book is many wonderful things. I highly recommend this for those who want an authentic account of growing into self." - Anya Pavelle, author


"Good storytelling, a wide range of characters and a heartbreaking tale. I felt intense anger at the Roman Catholic church one minute, and pure joy at a love story the next." - Conor J. Bredin, author


"This was a fascinating journey. Take the journey with these three men and see what you think for yourself. Your conclusions may surprise you as they did me." - Starred Review, 5/5


"A deeply original and honest book that took me into a world I could never know. What a terrific book." - Chase Hackett, author


"I wasn't disappointed. I loved the characters; I enjoyed following their many adventures together." - S.S. Long, author


"A multi-layered treat. This book was a fascinating romance-against-the-odds and I'd recommend it to anyone who is LGBTQ+ friendly." - Matt Adcock, author


"The struggle between faith and sexuality is on full display in this dramatic story. I fell in love with the characters and rooted for them as they learn to love and be loved." - Starred Review, 5/5

Mario Dell'Olio

About Mario Dell'Olio

Mario Dell’Olio has published five books, two were finalists for the Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

His latest release, Forbidden Rome, is a complex and timeless journey of beautiful self-discovery between faith and identity, full of passion, prejudice, and ambition. Mario's previous release, New Men: Bonds of Brotherhood, is a romantic journey of self-discovery inspired by true stories. Filled with romance, hope, and desire.

Mario's first book is a memoir, Coming About: Life in the Balance, about a sailing adventure going terribly wrong. The second book, Body and Soul, is an LGBTQA+ fiction that explores the strife of coming out during the 1980s.

Books by Mario Dell'Olio

Forbidden Rome

Forbidden Rome

New Men (1st Ed.)

New Men (1st Ed.)

Cappuccino: A Romantic Short Story

Cappuccino: A Romantic Short Story

FORBIDDEN ROME: An Exciting and Captivating Romance
by Mario Dell'Olio

328 Pages

Paperback ISBN: 9781990158469
Ebook ISBN: 9781990158476
Large Print: 9781990158551
Hardcover: 9781990158568

Published by 5310 Publishing
Publication date: 2022-06-07

Adult & contemporary romance
FICTION / LGBTQ+ / Gay
FICTION / Own Voices
FICTION / Coming of Age
FICTION / Romance / LGBTQ+ / Gay

Narrative themes: Love and relationships; Identity / belonging; Politics; Social issues