The Comeback

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Pub Date 11 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 12 Apr 2024

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They say she owes him everything.

Now she wants to burn it all to the ground.

Grace Turner was one movie away from Hollywood’s A-List. So no one understood why, at the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, she disappeared.

Now, one year later, Grace is back in Los Angeles and ready to reclaim her life on her own terms.

When Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke—the man who controlled her every move for eight years—she knows there’s only one way she’ll be free of the secret that’s already taken so much from her.

The Comeback is a moving and provocative story of justice—a true page-turner about a young woman finding the strength and power of her voice.

They say she owes him everything.

Now she wants to burn it all to the ground.

Grace Turner was one movie away from Hollywood’s A-List. So no one understood why, at the height of her career and on...

Advance Praise

'Beautifully written and compulsively readable…At its core, this book is about redemption, grace, and pain.' – Jenna Bush Hager

'A novel so full-blooded, so humane, that the pages feel almost warm to the touch. A clarifying, purifying chronicle of a promising young woman gone astray and the story of her comeback. Grace Turner can do it. You can do it, too.' – A.J. Finn

Ella Berman's debut novel is a Hollywood tale that packs a wallop...the reader is taken on a journey of self-discovery and redemption...Grace Turner dreams big, suffers and soars. A stunning debut. - Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of The Shoemaker's Wife

A propulsive, timely study of a complicated young woman, trying to put herself back together again in Hollywood's glare. Berman's storytelling is at times darkly funny, at times rage-inducing, always gripping. I read it in 24 hours. - Laura Hankin, author of Happy and You Know It

A compelling tale of power and justice. - Harper's Bazaar

Berman’s novel of a young woman recruited far too early in her life into the Hollywood machine may be the smartest book I’ve read in the past few years… - Lithub

'Beautifully written and compulsively readable…At its core, this book is about redemption, grace, and pain.' – Jenna Bush Hager

'A novel so full-blooded, so humane, that the pages feel almost warm...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781035900916
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 42 members

Featured Reviews

This felt like a slow-burn while I was reading it but, on finishing, I think that was a deliberate decision by Berman. This is certainly not the first 'me too' novel around but many of them that I've read have a sort of thriller-y pose with some kind of mystery or secret to be uncovered at their heart that gives a page-turner vibe. This one doesn't. It takes its topic seriously and with the gravity it deserves, and refuses to be derailed with Hollywood soap opera plotlines or mystery tropes.

Instead this focuses closely on Grace Turner, an English schoolgirl of just fourteen who is 'discovered' and flown to Hollywood to star in a trilogy of films. Her parents go with her but are unable to shield Grace from the vagaries of the film industry - and the inevitable power play of the director, Able, for whom she is a muse.

Shifting through time, this picks up Grace in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction at just twenty-four and with a failed marriage behind her. Old beyond her years, she is a flawed protagonist and narrator but one to whom I warmed greatly. I especially liked her negotiations that enable her to call out abuse done to her without being reduced to no more than a powerless victim - a hard position to come to. This is also excellent on Grace's difficult relationships with her parents, her sister and friends. An intelligent novel about Hollywood and gender dynamics - exactly what I wanted to read.

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I really enjoyed this book overall, to show how Hollywood can take so much from a person but also showing the weight of control versus having your own control was very empowering.

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A searing, visceral account of #metoo sex abuse in Hollywood. In this stunning debut novel we first meet indie filmstar Grace Turner in nondescript streets lined with bungalows in Anaheim, LA. She has fled from Hollywood to live with her dysfunctional family in mysterious circumstances. Eventually Grace, who was discovered by movie mogul Able Yorke aged 14, at an English school, returns to Hollywood to stage her comeback.
Having battled against addiction, and unable to sustain friendships, a marriage or achieve any understanding with her family, Grace is brittle and broken. The desire to avenge Able Yorke for sexually abusing her is strong. Unlike other books which tackle patriarchal sex abuse and misogyny in film land, Grace's disintegration, cased by years of being overworked and gas lighted, is honestly portrayed. We buy into her distress, her numbness and her overwhelming challenge in confronting the past.

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Oh I loved this so much. I’d seen the writer was a Reece Witherspoon author and wanted to read that book so was thrilled to get the chance review this. A very strong 5/5 and I’m telling everyone to buy her first book (I’ve got it lined up too!).
This is a story we all know but it feels like it’s so much more personal. It’s written well. It does not victim blame and it shows how easily such things can suddenly be part of someone’s life.

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I absolutely love a good Hollywood tale. This looks excellent and the cover also is very eye dat hung as well. I think this would make a great book club pick and I cannot wait to share my full thoughts and review on this one. I’m so excited to read what happened to this Hollywood ingenue and how she reclaims her power back.

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This book is beautifully written and powerful. The pace is slow, but I think eels Berman does that deliberately and it makes you become invested in the story.

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This was a tough book to read but really enjoyable.

Grace is a young actress, taken under the wing of mercurial director Able, and together they work well to make some amazing films - both taking their place in the spotlight.

However what we quickly come to realise is just how damaging and abusive this relationship is, and the impact this has had on Grace.

When Able is due to receive a lifetime achievement award, Grace is asked to introduce him and she intends to make her comeback!

As I say, this was a difficult read and I really felt for Grace but absolutely loved her character and determination to survive.

Thanks to Netgalley and Aria and Aries for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

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I found the Comeback to be a unique book....I haven't read anything quite like it before and found the topic that it deals with very relevant.

It's based around Grace Turner, a young movie star who was a child prodigy. We meet her after she has taken a break from the main arena and has disappeared for a year.
As she seeks to take control of her life, we follow her story and discover why she has gone into hiding and the secrets she is keeping.
Will justice be served for what has been to her? Is revenge better served cold?

A very engaging read which reminds us that everything comes at a cost...including fame and fortune.

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Grace Turner was plucked from obscurity as an 14 year-old English Schoolgirl to almost instant fame as a child star in Hollywood under the wing of the enigmatic director Able Yorke. 8 years later she's been pushed by the Svengali-like Able to the verge of becoming an A-list actor, Having achieved her first Golden Globes nomination, she suddenly disappears.
Reappearing in L.A. a year later a disturbed, and disturbing to many people,young woman,she's asked to present Able with a Lifetime Achievement Award,a request that throws her life and that of others into turmoil.

This is quite an amazing debut from Ella Berman. There have been many "me too" books published but this is by far the most powerful and convincing,it could almost be a very well-written autobiography, Grace is often hard to like,she's spiky,rude and hostile,even towards her family, The book is full of flawed characters, either predatory and manipulative or beaten up by life and bitter and twisted as a result. A couple of the latter have the chance to get revenge and grow stronger,their wrestling with their battle to find the strength to do so is a big part of the book.

An excellent read and an amazing debut.

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If you read one book this year let it be this one. I cannot recommend this enough. It isn't just a me too book but goes well beyond that. The book shows a view of the cost and impact of abuse. It shows the grey lines of abuse and how it is never just limited to a physical abuse and the role of power dynamics. It also shows the impact of abuse on the people around, including that of the perpetrators. It is also a commentary on art and artist and beautifully talks about the power of speaking out. In a parallel story the book also talks about other forms of bullying and abuse and commentary on women.

A definite read and probably the best I have read in this genre a while. The book pulls you in and not for a minute did I lose interest. It managed to weave me in and hook me in till the last page. Looking forward to more by this author!

Thank you Aria & Aries and NetGalley for this e-arc in exchange of my unbiased review!

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An engrossing, moving story of identity and perception that keeps the reader intrigued. The characters feel messy and real, and the way events unfold is painful and hopeful all at once.

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A really dark read from Ella Berman, The Comeback is well paced, complex and a well written take on the Me Too movement.
4 stars.

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Painful story telling; it's hard hitting but beautifully written.

Grace Turner was once a normal teenager living in London with her family until she was scouted for a movie directed by Able Yorke. Now 22, Grace had lived in LA and living her dreams, all while her public life had been preened with Able at her side, as well as the meticulously created team picked at the beginning of her career. So why did Grace Turner disappear just as her career was about to reach stardom?

This book was first published on the heels of the #MeToo movement and is a powerful, raw story about the difficulty of being a victim, healing and claiming your truth. It's a captivativating read as Grace is, in herself, a complex character but, it makes it all the more intriguing to live inside Grace's head and feel her pain, her thoughts and explore her understanding of the world around her.

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Grace was a 14-year old English schoolgirl when she was selected by charismatic Able to star in his new Hollywood series. This transformed the life of Grace and her family who moved to America with her. The book opens with Grace, now aged 22, returning to her parents' home. The story is told slowly, in small pieces, so there are lots of unexpected revelations as we find out about Grace's life until now. Grace has suffered a lot of trauma, and is trying to sort herself out, deciding whether to take any action or learn to live with her past. She has some good friends in Laura and Dylan who support Grace, but don't know the secrets she is keeping.
Grace is an abrasive and sarcastic character, and very funny at times. Her growing friendship with her younger sister Esme and their support for each other is lovely. Beautiful writing. Highly recommended.

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When I first read the blurb of this book, I requested it straight away and I’m so glad that I did. This is a story of a woman claiming back her life after experiencing sexual assault and emotional abuse from someone who was supposed to protect her.

I found grace’s character to be a strong representation of the #MeToo movement and it was so eye opening to see the struggle she faces throughout the book.

She is courageous and a brilliantly written character.

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Absolutely brilliant, loved it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me an advance copy, I will definitely be recommending.

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A brilliant thriller set within the glamourous world of Hollywood with all its dreadful MeToo trappings, this was a gripping read with vivid characters, a great plot, and terrific set pieces. Joyful!

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The Comeback follows traumatised young actress Grace , detailing her unique upbringing in the spotlight and the effects of coming to terms with being groomed and assaulted by a well-respected and acclaimed male film director. The book alternates between the past and present, reflecting on the past and Grace’s current path to reclaim her career and sense of self.

The novel navigates heavy topics such as sexual assault, predatory behaviour, mental illness and substance abuse in a thought-provoking and modern context through a story of a survivor of Hollywood abuse.

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A slow burn for 85% of the book with what felt like a rushed ending that fizzled out. That said I was rooting for Grace in her redemption era and willing her to succeed the entire time. Overall I enjoyed it much like Berman’s other book, Before We Were Innocent should you want more “unreliable” female protagonists.

Thank you Aria & Aries and NetGalley for the chance to read The Comeback before it’s re-released. It’s out this Thursday, 11th April #TheComeback #NetGalley

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The Comeback
by Ella Berman

Although this is Berman's debut, it is only being published now in Ireland and the UK, following last year's Before We Were Innocent, which I really liked.

This is a slow burn character driven story of a young woman who has been the victim of a Weinsteinesque Hollywood film director. A year ago she disappeared on the day before her first Golden Globe nomination, upending her teen star career, and the story opens with her coming to terms with her new lower status in LA hierarchy.

Slowly, through reflective first person narrative we learn how Able Yorke plucked her from obscurity and moulded her into the most exciting starlet of her time, but we also begin to understand the power dynamics that were inherent in the movie business before the #metoo movement blew the walls down.

I couldn't help thinking about Britney Spears' recent memoir throughout, about how easy is can be for young women who are hungry for fame to be so vulnerable to the coercive control of manipulative men who ultimately commodify them and exploit them in every way possible.

Berman really drills into the way the social system of this ( to the rest of us) bizarre industry is completely geared up for these power players to always win and their pawns, their prey, to become so ensconced in the trap that there is no way out. Who would ever believe the word of a "drug addled", "mental case" over a pillar of the community?

An uncomfortable, yet redemptive story of a young woman who's rage finds a voice at just the right time.

Publication date:11th April 2024
Thanks to #NetGalley and #ariaandaries for the ARC

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This is another brutal book that does not hold its punches. It is based around Grace Turner, a former child actress who, at the height of her glittering adult career, on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, disappears...
I say disappears, she actually runs away home. To her parents, for a year. Until they start to gently (?) encourage her to go back. Which eventually she does. But this time, she's sober and her eyes are more open. And then she is asked to present an award to Able Yorke a director who has pretty much controlled her entire life.
But as the action continues in the present, we also witness her origin story. How she was plucked from obscurity, how she and her family travelled to the States in order for her to work on a film. Oh the glamour, the glitz... or actually, not. There's a dark side to things. A very dark side...
Yes, OK so there is an element of #metoo in all of this. But it is actually so much more than that. It's about power and control, about a strong influential person can basically manipulate a young innocent girl. It's about choosing the wrong people to trust and letting the good ones go. But it's also about the fightback... and, a kinda coming of age...
Boy was this a brutal, hard hitting read. It opened my eyes about a few things , especially some misconceptions I might have had about certain personality types. I'd love to wax lyrical more but, spoilers... It's is quite dark and depressing, but there is always that glimmer of hope, bubbling under the surface. It's very character driven and the character's are brilliantly drawn and all hold their own within the story being told. Grace is all things wonderful as a character. Naive, vulnerable, lonely, but also quite smart and determined... By the end of the book I was actually feeling quite sad that I would soon have to be saying goodbye to her.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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