The Truth and Legend of Lily Martindale

An Adirondack Novel

By Mary Sanders Shartle

Subjects: Fiction, New York/regional
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438450186, 258 pages, April 2014

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The Adirondack hamlet of Winslow Station is transformed by the unexpected return of its solitary prodigal child.


Silver Winner for General Fiction, Foreword Reviews 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards

Winner of the 2015 Adirondack Literary Award for Best Novel presented by the Adirondack Center for Writing

Winner of the 2015 People's Choice Award presented by the Adirondack Center for Writing

Gold Medalist, 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the US Northeast–Best Regional Fiction Category

When a successful New Yorker returns to her birthplace in the Adirondack Mountains to escape her publicly tragic life, she begins to find peace for the first time since she was five years old. Hired as a caretaker for an Adirondack Great Camp, she spends over ten years living alone. But Lily Martindale's days as a recluse are plagued by a secret which aggravates her fragile state of mind. On a winter day in the 1990s, deep in the mountains, she opens fire on a military flyover. Lily, once again, is a person of interest in the press, to the public, and now to the FBI—not an enviable position for a hermit. The Adirondack hamlet of Winslow Station is transformed by the unexpected return of its solitary prodigal child. She is driven to confront her own isolation, years of sadness, and her deteriorating health. She also finds something, and someone, she never expected to see again.

Mary Sanders Shartle is a writer and poet. She teaches writing workshops in the Albany, Saratoga, and Adirondack areas.


"In lush and descriptive prose Shartle invents an Adirondack hermit, a woman who shoots at low-flying military aircraft on a cold winter day. " — Adirondack Explorer

"…the strength of the writing in The Truth and Legend of Lily Martindale made it a pleasure to read. " — North Country Public Radio

"Shartle has written a rich novel. She captures the 'otherness' of the Adirondack camp, with its family and seasonal rituals, and its solitude. She has created a troubled character who finally puts the pieces of her life into a whole. And she creates the story within the larger context of bits of prayers people have sung for centuries. " — Adirondack Daily Enterprise

"Mary Sanders Shartle paints a strong portrait of New York's rugged Adirondack region in her debut novel, The Truth and Legend of Lily Martindale. It's an atmospheric tale about a great tragedy that devastates two little girls. One refashions her life, finding love, faith, and a rewarding career, while the other struggles for many years to forge herself anew … Shartle's memorable novel will find a ready audience with readers who are already fond of the Adirondacks, but it is so studded with rich detail and scenery that others will want to transport themselves to this wild, dangerous, yet achingly lovely place. " — ForeWord Reviews

"Mary Sanders Shartle has created an unforgettable character in her female hermit, subtly evoking the diverse moods of our North Country seasons along the way. This well-paced first novel kept me riveted from the poetic opening paragraphs to the unexpected conclusion. The Truth and Legend of Lily Martindale has all the makings of an Adirondack classic. " — Bibi Wein, author of The Way Home: A Wilderness Journey

"What to make of Lily Martindale? In this poignant tale of a woman whose heart remains, for both better and worse, in an idyllic Adirondack childhood while she is buffeted by the storms of adolescence and adulthood, Mary Sanders Shartle has given us a deeply moving and penetrating portrait of human memory, longings, and motivations. Shartle's thorough knowledge of Adirondack social, political, architectural, and natural history allows her to paint a convincing picture of diverse people, their environments, and their interactions, from the 'Great Camp' set to natives of remote northern pockets of the park. Will Lily ever retrieve the love and happiness she knew as a child? Perhaps only a raven knows for sure. " — Neal Burdick, coeditor of The Adirondack Reader: Four Centuries of Adirondack Writing, 3rd Edition