On Harbor’s Edge is the first story 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

With a compelling plot, believable characters, rich imagery, and beautiful illustrations, the novel draws a fine picture of island life in the early part of the 2oth century. On Harbor’s Edge is a provocative novel, capable of transporting those who read it.

Points East magazine review by Lisa Shields

On Harbor’s Edge has drama, romance, and insight into life in a very small, isolated community

Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine

I recommend the book highly to all people who love a good Down East story reflecting literature that is realistic in dialogue, with a touch of poetry in its prose.

Maine Senior College Network’s The Book Corner review by Other Lifelong Learning Institute educator and author Pat Davidson Reef.

As well as a juicy drama, it’s a fascinating look at what island life was like in the early 20th century. If you love historical fiction and romantic drama this book is for you. I couldn’t stop flipping the pages. Don’t read if trying to go to sleep!

Elizabeth Rossano, Filmmaker

An excellent read, a step into reality from the first page to the end. The hardest thing about a good read like ‘On Harbor’s Edge’ is coming to the end of it. This books is just the beginning of many exciting adventures to come.

J. Metcalfe, Goodreads

Read it in three days. Can’t wait for the next one!

H. Walters, France

Loved it. Couldn’t put it down. Consumed it in two days. Kate transported me to a time and a place I knew nothing about…and now I feel like I am part of the community. I really need to know what happens next…please write the next one quickly!

J. Arney, Amazon

The opening chapter rings true in its portrayal of coastal Maine life in the early 20th century and required a lot of research to get right the sein nets and other details. The fast-paced storyline, though, is what hooks this reader who is eager to learn what happens next.

Lelitia Baldwin, The Ellsworth American

In this unassuming, straightforward novel, Kate deftly captures the feel of Maine island life and the guts of life as it was at the turn of the last century. I’m buying another copy to share with friends!

Sarah, Amazon

Mildred is a smart, strong-willed woman who finally solidly establishes herself in her marriage and with the community, although her friendship with a bachelor jeopardizes everything. This is a thought-provoking tale complete with suspense and tension, as well as humor, kindness and warmth, making it a satisfying and convincing read.

Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal

My oh my, I read On Harbor’s Edge in one breath!

Antastasia Christopoulou, Greece