On Harbor’s Edge is the first story in a series of generationally layered tales from 1912 to the present, against the backdrop of Maine coast imagery author Susan Conley describes as “so rich it is its own character.” While the Popplestone Isle harbor story is fictional, some of the hurdles Mildred May Gale faces in 1912 still challenge islanders today.

We set out, sun high overhead, hampered by the dory weighted with trunks. A few more distant “Byes!” and “Good lucks!” and the crowd headed off to enjoy my wedding cake and to talk about us.

My youngest brother lagged behind. Four-year-old Foster waved, his other hand in his pocket. I smiled, waved back, and blew him a kiss. The kiss “hit” his freckly face, and he stepped back with its imagined strength. I laughed, took a deep breath, blew him a pile more with two hands, and watched him fall over when they struck.

Foster stood up with a grin, followed by tears he wiped away with his forearm. Julia ran out of the woods then, kneeled, and hugged him.

She rose, took his hand, then both turned and chased after the others, Julia looking back for the briefest of moments.


Captivating! On Harbor’s Edge hooked me line and sinker with fascinating characters and dramatic plots brilliantly layered in Maine island life a hundred years ago. Can’t wait for the sequel!

– Linda Greenlaw, best-selling author of The Hungry Ocean and more

Kate Hotchkiss captures the workings of an island here in one fantastic novel. On Harbor’s Edge gives us real Maine on the page: men and women working hard on the sea and finding big love with all its complications, while Hotchkiss shows us the extraordinary life force needed to keep an island village alive. On Harbor’s Edge brings us to Maine and lets us live on the island with her characters in a way that no other Maine story I’ve read has done.

Susan Conley, award-winning author of Elsey Come Home and more

. . . deeply atmospheric – island life during simpler times is rendered to wonderfully vivid, absorbing effect. And the story is beautifully plotted, with an intense foreboding quality that creates a strong pull of momentum.

Elisabeth Schmitz, Grove Atlantic

Kate Hotchkiss’s compelling portrait of a young, new bride dealing with an island community cool to her arrival just gets better and better with every chapter, as personal, romantic, and professional challenges of the deepest kind pile up for Mildred May, who somehow manages to deal with all of them while retaining her core self. Told by an author who has lived island life herself and captures the feel and speech of the people with a perfect ear.”

Eugene Pool, author of Heroic Women of the Art World

What a well-crafted story! So many things were clear—first, the characters and the dynamic between them. They say that conflict is the essence of drama, and that certainly was prominent. Another thing that was evident is there is a very strong character looming behind the others—the Harbor itself.

Jack Rushen, Playwright

I loved this book!!!! As a retired elementary teacher and a New Englander, I was drawn to the main character Mildred May. Her new life on a Maine island and her new job as the island schoolteacher were challenges she met with strength and determination! But she was a complex character with emotional and relationship needs. Could she make a good marriage with Thaddeus? That’s what grabbed me, brought me back to the book at each read, and keep me reading “just one more chapter” each night. The book’s ending was unexpected, a situation both classic and current, and at the same time, totally believable! And where will the story go from here? I can’t wait for Book Two in this series!

Sharon Corologos, Goodreads Reader Review

On Harbour’s Edge from Harbour Main! If you want a great escape, dive into this marvelous tale by Kate Hotchkiss. Written so descriptively I could hear the characters accents and smell the salt air. I didn’t read it, I devoured it in 3 days. Having visited Maine many times in my youth and now living just a short walk from the North Atlantic in Newfoundland, this story could take place in either setting. Islanders are islanders and Kate has captured it beautifully in this unforgettable story!”

Bill Jameson, Amazon Reader Review