The Colony of Unrequited Dreams has garnered national and international praise for its distinctive blend of fact and fiction. Johnston weaves the story of Joey Smallwood, arguably Newfoundlands most controversial political figure and undoubtedly its unlikelest romantic hero. It tells of Smallwoods ambition and friendship with Sheilagh Fielding. Together, they escape Newfoundland and become socialists in New York. Returning home, he becomes a populist and is alternately plagued and inspired by Fielding, now a popular newspaper columnist.