By Any Other Name (Forbidden #1) by J.M. Darhower REVIEW

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By Any Other Name (Forbidden #1) by J.M. Darhower REVIEW

A deadly rivalry. 
Two families at war. 
Nobody is safe, not even the innocent. 
Especially the innocent. 
Blood will be spilled. 

Genevieve “Genna” Galante knows a thing or two about causing trouble. After all, it’s engrained in her DNA. As the only daughter of Primo Galante, notorious boss of the Galante crime family, her life is dictated by a certain set of rules… rules Genna was never very good at following. 

Matteo “Matty” Barsanti never wanted anything to do with the family business, but as the first-born Barsanti son, certain things are expected of him. It’s his duty, according to his father, to help take down the enemy… even if that enemy means something to him. 

A chance encounter on an elevator changes the course of lives, causing the biggest trouble of Genna’s young life. The only good Barsanti is a dead Barsanti. She’s heard it said time and time again. So what happens when she falls in love with one of them? 

The story of star-crossed lovers caught in the middle of the biggest rivalry New York has ever seen, determined to make it… if only they can survive their parents’ feud.


In my opinion, J.M. Darhower writes the best Mafia romance and recreating a classic tale of forbidden love and family vendettas is no easy feat. This is a modern day Romeo & Juliet that will have you glued to your kindle from the heartbreaking prologue.

The streets of New York are controlled by five Italian families, each with their own territories. For years, the Barsanti and the Galante families have been involved in a feud and know never to overstep the invisible boundaries that have been laid down for decades without paying a heavy price.

Genna Galante is 18, she is a mischievous and sassy girl who is overprotected by her father and brother. When she is caught stealing a car, her father arranges things so that she gets sentenced with community service. As she is leaving the courthouse, she becomes trapped in an elevator with a handsome young man who she becomes quite captivated with and after talking about anything and everything, they decide to go out for some drinks and get to know each other more.

“She was head over heels, unabashedly swept off her feet by Matty-B.
Insta-love, how fucking cliche.”

6 years her senior, Matty-B is the son of Roberto Barsanti, and is back home after many years away to spend time with is dying mother. He is sensitive and kind and wants nothing to do with the dealings of his family business that his father and brother are so heavily involved in. He reluctantly agrees to become their bookie and plans only to stay as long as his mother needs him.

Things become complicated when they discover each others true identities, but when Matty’s mother encourages him to go for what he wants, he decides he will pursue Genna no matter what the dangerous consequences may be.

As with all tragedies, the course of true love will never run smoothly, especially when past secrets and a lies come to a head.

“…he was starting to wonder if he could truly ever have her.
Not as long as our families are dead set on killing each other”

This was one of those books that I savoured, I wanted to read it slowly. I fell in love with Matty, you always know that a man who treats his mother with such affection and love will make a fantastic book hero. He was loyal to those who loved him and he was sexy to boot.

I also loved the relationship between the siblings, the protectiveness of Dante towards his sister and the deep-seated respect between Matty and Enzo.

This is the first book in the Forbidden series, and ends on a story cliffhanger with a HFN for Genna & Matty. Told in dual third person POV.

ARC gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review

About the Author

J.M. Darhower

JM Darhower is the author of countless stories and poems, most of which only she has ever read. She lives in a tiny town in rural North Carolina, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and speaking out against human trafficking, and when she isn’t writing she’s usually ranting about those things. Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a Twitter addiction. You can find her there @JMDarhower

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More in this Series

By Any Other Name Sweetest Sorrow (Forbidden #2)


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