Inspired by a train trip to Belper, Stefanie Parks debuts with a magical tale for the young reader

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A heart-warming children’s fantasy novel follows a young girl who uncovers a mysterious butterfly magic at her aunt's house in Derbyshire after she is sent there to recover from a significant trauma.

Set in Belper, 'The Butterflies of Meadow Hill Manor' is by Stefanie Parks, an author born and raised in Derbyshire.

Stefanie Parks was born and raised in the beautiful county of Derbyshire which became the inspiration and setting for her stories.

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As a child Stefanie lived in Middleton-by-Matlock, a village that was once home to D.H. Lawrence and is believed to be the setting for his short story ‘A Wintry Peacock’. Her parents enjoyed being outside and the family often spent their weekends hiking parts of the High Peak Trail, scrambling at Black Rocks or biking around Carsington Water.

Author Stefanie ParksAuthor Stefanie Parks
Author Stefanie Parks

As an adult, Stefanie attended Derby University and trained as a teacher. During her training, she completed a placement at Belper primary school and fell in love with the area. She moved to Belper during her final year at university and was inspired to write The Butterflies of Meadow Hill Manor on her return from university one day. The opening scene of the book is set in Belper train station.

Stefanie explains, “I arrived at the station on a dark, rainy night and thought this would make a good story start. I started writing that same night and although the story has changed a great deal over the years, the location has remained the same.”

Locals familiar with the Amber Valley area might also notice that the fictitious Meadow Hill Manor strongly resembles the beautiful Makeney Hall located on the outskirts of Belper.

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Stefanie currently lives with her husband in Christchurch, New Zealand where she is writing her next book which will also be based in Derbyshire. “I spent many years living in Matlock and this will be the perfect location for my next book.”

Amy has been sent to live with her aunt at Meadow Hill Manor in Belper, Derbyshire, to help her ‘recover’. Rumours abound that the house is haunted, but Amy doesn’t care. It’s just another place to live and Amy is determined not to care about anything. What would be the point?

Amy’s obsession with shutting the world out is interrupted when she hears strange noises in the house. Here she finds herself drawn to a mysterious, magical power hidden within the building. Should she ignore it, or should she face her fears and embrace this strange, new magic?

Heart-warming and unique, The Butterflies of Meadow Hill Manor is a moving fantasy fiction which sensitively weaves themes of grief and anxiety along with friendship and discovery to deliver a truly magical story.