After Paris Family Business Historical Fiction

Reviews for After Paris and Family Business

Here’s what my readers are saying about After Paris:

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve just finished “After Paris” and I absolutely loved it.

You write beautifully it has to be said. 

I thought Lisbeth’s character was very well crafted, so strong yet so vulnerable and self- doubting at times. The embodiment of that all too familiar feeling that maybe we’re not being honest with ourselves and allowing ourselves to be as happy as we should be. I also thought there was a real elegance to it and the story flowed beautifully.” G.M, Dublin, Ireland

“Set against the backdrop of World War I and the immediate post-war period, Renny de Groot’s second novel, “After Paris” traces the physical and psychological journey of Liesbeth Zwart-Bos, a young Dutch nurse. This fascinating page-turner explores the themes of the horrors of war, the role of women in society and the hardships of immigration. As we follow Liesbeth through her travels to France, back home to the Netherlands and ultimately to Canada, we simultaneously witness her voyage through her identity crisis, with her emotional maturity as the final destination. Once again Renny deGroot has proven herself to be a skilled storyteller, as we become emotionally invested in her characters and their struggles” S.E., Toronto, Canada

Have you read the book? I’d love to get your honest feedback! Click the link below to submit a review to

Here’s what a reader said about Family Business:

Each time I dove into the words of your novel I was transported to a time and place that was brought to life with such brilliant writing. The style, the pace and the captivating narrative kept me engaged and captured by every word, phrase and emotion. As I read the novel in small bites I was constantly anticipating the moment I could catch up with Andre, Tiineke, Johan, Mary and Agatha and how their story unfolds. Your writing is so captivating and I admire you immensely. The skill you have in telling a narrative in a heart-moving yet fact based style is exceptional.What I loved about the novel were the small stories of each of the characters that together created a compelling thread of connected lives and the moments their lives are changed through theirs and others actions and decisions. It is the essence of life. We impact each other not necessarily through serendipitous actions but more so through a complex infrastructure of emotions and motivations. I feel these are what you have mastered in your work. As a reader, I was immersed in the thoughts and the external and internal drivers of each character which raised so many of my emotions.” T.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Have you read the book? I’d love to get your honest feedback! Click the link below to submit a review to

Events Family Business Historical Fiction

An Afternoon of Story and Song in Port Hope

Summerhill B&B-Tearoom
Summerhill B&B-Tearoom

Sunday, November 15: 1 pm-3 pm

As part of this month’s on-going celebration of authors, please join me for a reading and discussion of my debut novel Family Business, recently shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. I will be joined by recording artist and one of Canada’s best loved Irish Tenors; Jimmy Carton, who will perform a few songs a cappella.

This event is free and will be held in the beautiful and unique environment of the Summerhill B&B and Tea Room, 127 Walton St. Port Hope. Space is limited, so call to reserve your place today: 905-885-8741.

Family Business

Latest News

Public Speaking
Public Speaking

I love talking to people about my book and my writing. I was pleased to be invited on Saturday Oct 10, to speak with Martin van Denzen on 1320 Dutch Touch radio. You can listen to the interview here by clicking the link, and since your Dutch may not be perfect, scroll ahead to minute 37 to listen to the interview in English.:



For more opportunities to listen to me speaking about my debut novel, Family Business, check out my ‘Events’ page for upcoming engagements.

Family Business

New Ways to Read

Kobo Glo

As a writer who was shortlisted for the inaugural Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, I was delighted to receive a surprise ‘runner-up’ package which included the Kobo Glo E-reader. I admit it; I’ve resisted the E-readers before this because there is something I love about the feel and reading experience of a print book. Well, since it’s been pushed to me, and being a frugal Dutch person who can’t stand the idea of waste, I decided I’d give it a go. I’ve loaded up some books (starting with a Charles Dickens I don’t have in print – Our Mutual Friend). It’s a new skill to read this way. I’m not flipping back as much to reread something. No footnotes – oh my! No chunky feel of the pages moving from the ‘as yet unread’ to the read side. I can’t say I’ve fallen in love with it, but I can certainly see the convenience of it. As with fast food, there is always something to sacrifice for convenience. It’ll be great for travelling.

The other new way that I’ve been reading is out loud. This is rather a lost art (in the era of Dickens it was a common evening pastime) which I need to practice. I do regular readings of my book these days, but I find that I always feel better if I’ve done it at home, out loud, a few times before going in front of an audience. I don’t want to stumble. I want to make sure the emphasis and emotion are appropriate for the piece. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Go ahead. I dare you. Try it!

So – the lesson in all of this is that, even with a skill like reading, which one learned and presumably perfected back in grade three, it takes practice, honing and being open to the notion that there is still more to learn.

If you’d like to hear me read, and you will be in Gore’s Landing on September 12th at 4 pm, drop on by Pitchers Place restaurant. Can’t make that date? I’ll also be at the Cobourg Library on October 22. Drop in! I’d love to see you.


Awards Family Business Historical Fiction

Celebrating Success


What does success look like? Like a chameleon, it takes on different colours and forms depending on the time in one’s life. For me, the time may come when being Shortlisted  for an award like the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize may not be enough to warrant the great excitement; the throbbing heart; the near giddy joy that I experienced. That time may come, but for now, I feel amazingly successful. No, I didn’t win the actual prize – that honour went to Claire Battershill with her novel; Circus. Did I still feel like a winner as I chatted with other authors and members of the publishing industry at the awards gala? You bet I did. As an Indie Author, there may have been a few of those in the traditional publishing business who wondered how I came to be there, but I didn’t let that dampen my pleasure. I was shortlisted and forever after I can enjoy that triumph. And… somehow I suspect that the next time I’m shortlisted for something, I’ll be just as giddy.

Family Business

A Community of Writers

Well done to the organizers of the second Wordstock literary festival in Sudbury, Ontario. It was an exciting event with workshops, panel discussions, speakers and book signings. The best part of it for me though was the immersion into all things author-ish. Getting together with other writers to hear how they are progressing with their latest project, telling them about my own work in progress, encouraging and being encouraged and of course, celebrating my shortlist for the kobo Emerging Writer Prize – all those conversations serve to inspire and recharge the battery. I appreciate my writer friends and that made the long drive worth it!

Speaking of driving, if you happen to be in Peterborough, ON this Friday, June 26 between 4 pm and 8 pm, please join me at Chapters where I will be signing books and chatting with fans. I’d love to see you!

Chapters Map

Family Business Historical Fiction

Book Signing


Join me at the Peterborough Chapters on June 26, 4 pm – 8 pm for some chat and to pick up your personalized copy of Family Business. Books make great gifts too!


Family Business Historical Fiction

Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Short-list

front cover

I’m absolutely thrilled to share with you the exciting news that my book has been short-listed for the new Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Here is an excerpt from the Kobo Press Release:

Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Shortlist Announced

The 15 best new Canadian books have been selected from three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (Mystery), and Non-Fiction

May 20, 2015

Toronto, ONMay 20, 2015 – Kobo, a Rakuten company and leading innovator in the digital reading space, today announced the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize shortlist. The annual award, designed to kick-start the careers of debut authors, will award a $10,000 CAD cash prize to a book in each of three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (beginning with Mystery this year), and Non-Fiction. In addition, each winning author will receive promotional, marketing, and communications support for their written works through 2015.”

The release goes on to say: “The shortlist, selected by Kobo’s team of booksellers and taking into consideration book completion rates, customer ratings and reviews, comprises five books in each genre. The shortlist will now move on to the final selection process, led by top Canadian authors: Charlotte Gray for Non-Fiction, Miriam Toews for Literary Fiction, and Ian Hamilton for Genre Fiction (Mystery), with winners announced on July 7.”

Here are the contenders in my category:

Literary Fiction

  • Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti – House of Anansi Press
  • Family Business by Renny deGroot – Self-Published
  • For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu – HarperCollins Canada
  • Fire In The Unnameable Country by Ghalib Islam – Penguin Canada
  • Circus by Claire Battershill  – McClelland & Stewart

More information can be found on the Kobo website:


Family Business Historical Fiction

Never Give Up

Cutting Wood

This week we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. It’s a double celebration for me as a first generation Dutch-Canadian. First of all I celebrate my roots which has given me the tenacious and determined attitude which exemplify the Dutch people. I celebrate, what some people may call stubbornness, because I know that with a ‘never give up’ attitude, I will achieve my dreams. Secondly I celebrate the Canadian generousness of spirit. Remembering the courageous men and women who left their homes to liberate the Netherlands makes me stand a little taller; makes me choke with emotion; makes me glad to know that my parents were inspired to come and make Canada their new home. Yes. I celebrate.

If a photo ever described that Dutch situation and attitude from 70 years ago, it is this one of my mother taken in April 1945. Where this big chunk of wood came from is a mystery, but cutting it down to size would mean the difference between cooking or not so Mom was determined to ‘never give up.’

In my book Family Business, the Meyer family go through some of these challenges. If you haven’t read the book yet, it is available for purchase through ( )

If you have read it, I’d appreciate your support with a review. I’ve submitted the book for the Kobo Emerging Writer Award and part of the judging criteria is ‘reader engagement’. You’ll need to sign up for a kobo account (no cost – just take a second to create a username and password). Here’s the link:

Thank you!


Family Business Historical Fiction

CBC Radio Interview


Thanks to Markus Schwabe at the CBC North morning show for the opportunity to come in and speak about my novel Family Business. If you missed the interview, you can listen to it at their website: (scroll down to find the November 10 segment).