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Grace Zaring Stone (January 9, 1891 – September 29, 1991) was an American novelist and short-story writer.[1] She is perhaps best known for having three of her novels made into films: The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Winter Meeting, and Escape. She also used the pseudonym Ethel Vance.[1]


Born in New York City in 1891, Grace Zaring was the great-great-granddaughter of social reformer Robert Owen.[1] Her mother died during her childhood. She started writing in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where she lived with her husband, Ellis Spencer Stone (1889-1956), later a commodore in the U.S. Navy (where he commanded all of the aircraft carriers at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 [none were lost as they were not at Pearl Harbor that day]).[1] Later, she and her husband moved to Stonington, Connecticut.[1] They had one child, the author and gardener, Eleanor Perenyi.

Stone had used the pseudonym of Ethel Vance to write her 1939 anti-Nazi thriller Escape to avoid jeopardizing her daughter, who was living in occupied Europe during the Second World War. Editions of her books after World War II sometimes credited her as "Grace Zaring Stone (Ethel Vance)", as Escape was her best-known book at the time of the war.[1][2] Three of her novels --The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Escape, and Winter Meeting—were adapted for film.[1] In 1955, Escape was translated into German and published in Germany as Die Flucht.


Grace Zaring Stone died on September 29, 1991 at the Mary Elizabeth Nursing Center in Mystic, Connecticut, aged 100.[1]

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