What’s the difference between romance and women’s fiction? Writer Jean Stone hears this question over and over. From friends. From family. Each time, she politely offers the same response.

“In romance, the woman gets a guy. In women’s fiction, they get a life.”

Vineyard Magic tells story of a group of New York women trying to help their friend, who lives on Martha's Vineyard. — Mark Lovewell

Ms. Stone’s latest novel, Vineyard Magic, tells the story of a group New York women trying to help their friend Libby who is living on Martha’s Vineyard.

Originally from West Springfield, Ms. Stone moved to Edgartown last summer after spending years in Amherst. She first visited the Vineyard in 1984, falling in love with the “magical” Island immediately. Living on-and-off the Island in November of 1995, Ms. Stone felt inspired to write whenever she visited.

Vineyard Magic begins when Libby loses her trust fund and home in Belize. She also has amnesia, and risks losing her Vineyard home. Her friends visit the Island to lift her spirits without knowing of her condition. Twists and turns ensue including a dead body and a missing husband.

“Much of it is in Edgartown,” Ms. Stone said, referring to the story’s setting. She continues to use the Island’s landmarks at her readers’ insistence.

“My readers have said they love to be able to go and see the places,” she said.

Ms. Stone’s readers mean the world to her. She framed a letter from a Chicago fan to remind herself of her audience. The letter explains how the fan felt heartbroken over one of Ms. Stone’s characters.

“I get the chills just thinking of it,” said Ms. Stone.

Her previous two novels, The Summer House and Off-Season, also use Martha’s Vineyard as their setting. Hugh and Jeanne Taylor, owners of Aquinnah’s Outermost Inn, helped Ms. Stone research the Island when writing her first Vineyard book.

“I’ve always felt a need to be around the people and the places I’m writing about,” Ms. Stone said.

Jean Stone will read from and discuss Vineyard Magic at the Edgartown Public Library at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20. For information on the author, visit jeanstone.com.