GroundswellBy Katie Lee

Publisher: Gallery
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Genre: Romance
Source: Publisher

EAT, SURF, LOVE. A butterfly flaps its wings in New York City . . . and a groundswell forms in Mexico. . . .

Sometimes the biggest ripples come from the smallest events. Like the day that Emma Guthrie walks into world-famous movie star Garrett Walker’s trailer. When she steps through the door, she’s a novice PA who’s just dropped out of college after losing her scholarship. When she walks out, she’s on her way to becoming Mrs. Emma Walker—wife of an A-list actor. Soon, Emma has made the transition from nobody to red-carpet royalty, trading jeans and flip-flops for closets full of Chanel and Birkin bags, swishing past velvet ropes to attend every lavish party and charity gala on both coasts. With her husband’s encouragement, Emma pens a screenplay based on her life, Fame Tax, which becomes a blockbuster sensation. Through it all, Garrett is her ally and her mentor . . . until their relationship is thrown into question by an incriminating text message that Emma discovers on Garrett’s phone the night of the Met Costume Institute Gala.

Devastated by her husband’s infidelity and hounded mercilessly by the paparazzi, Emma must flee New York City to get away from it all and clear her head. Her destination? A sleepy coastal town in Mexico where no one recognizes her and there is nothing but unspoiled beaches for miles. Here, she meets Ben, a gorgeous, California-born surf instructor, who teaches her about the healing powers of surfing, shows her the joys of the simple life, and ultimately opens her up to the possibility of love.

From Manhattan’s hippest restaurants to the yacht-and-celebrity infested waters of St. Barts, Katie Lee’s debut novel is an irresistible insider’s glimpse into a glittering world—and a captivating story about how losing everything you thought you wanted can be the first step to finding what you need.

Goodreads Summary

Emma Walker looks like she has it all.  Just seven years ago she was on the verge of being exactly nowhere without a job or her scholarship to college when she gets the letter she’s been waiting for – a chance to work with a screenwriter on a movie.  While she’s been warned to stay away from its womanizing, captivating star, she still falls under the spell of Garrett Walker. After a whirlwind courtship that defies all of the rules of Hollywood standards, the two fall in love and marry.

Now here she is all these years later rubbing shoulders with everyone who’s anyone, a successful screenwriter in her own right with a summer blockbuster under her designer belt but there’s still some of that insecure girl that Garrett plucked from the movie lot seven years earlier in her.  The crowds, the parties, the faking it all – it’s getting tiresome.  When she sneaks away for some peace at a big event, she ends up seeing something that destroys her world instead – evidence that Garrett has been unfaithful.

With a leak to the press and depression setting in, Emma decides to flee somewhere she’s never been before, somewhere simple where she can reconnect with the woman she was before Garrett – the kind of woman who didn’t wear high heels or fancy dresses – and decide what parts of her life were real and whether she can go back to the life she used to have.

This is such a crazy emotional whirlwind of a book, generally in a dramatically good way for a reader.  Emma very quickly goes from a starving student to having one of the world’s most sought after actors at her feet.  There are awkward moments when she’s tossed into social situations he didn’t prepare her for and things that he just dumps on her but when he sees she’s stressed, he piles on the charm and they work through the problem.

There’s barely any page time given to Garrett and Emma’s seven year marriage, but there is a lot written about what happened before the wedding and the ways that Emma had to adjust to his lifestyle.  It was a pretty interesting look at Garrett – I wanted to channel Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, grab Emma’s hands and tell her, “You in danger, girl.”  I believed he loved her but he had pieces that were a little scary.

I had a like/dislike relationship with Emma.  She only seems to have two ways of being – in a relationship or lonely and depressed. I really liked three of her long-term friendships, one that she made during her relationship with Garrett; they were probably the best – maybe only – indicator of her growing confidence with herself.  When she got to Mexico and started to pull herself out of her depression, she was more likable than before she’d even met Garrett.

My Summary: This would fit perfectly as a good beach read.  It’s not overly fluffy but it’s a smooth story with some Hollywood name-dropping, a rags-to-riches smart heroine who deserved better than the flawed hero she ended up with plus a little sparkling Mexican surf and a gorgeous surfer to ride the waves with.

My Rating: B-




  1. LOL about Whoopie. Sounds nice enough to me. Probably something I would enjoy on a warm summer night.

  2. Ah, Whoopi, lol. Hoping I didn't lose too many people there. :)It's really a great easy uncomplicated read – a nice story, loved all the fashion stuff and the little Hollywood references and the beach things in Mexico were sweet. I didn't mention it and her website doesn't (don't know if it matters much), but Katie Lee is married (separated from) Billy Joel. In addition to all her regular famous connections on her own, she has his. 🙂

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