Blog Tours book reviews

A Theatre For Dreamers by Polly Sampson


Published: April 2nd, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Theatre For Dreamers. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Bloomsbury for the eBook ARC.


1960. The world is dancing on the edge of revolution, and nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives, ruled by the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, troubled king and queen of bohemia. Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzling wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen.

Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels.

Burning with the heat and light of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is a spellbinding novel about utopian dreams and innocence lost – and the wars waged between men and women on the battlegrounds of genius.


When she was eighteen-years-old Erica followed her first love to Hydra, an island inhabited by dreamers: writers, poets, painters and musicians who all came to create under the heat of the Greek sun. The novel tells the story of their lives on the island that summer; the trials and tribulations, romance, heartache and self-discovery, all through Erica’s eyes.

This captivating and evocative novel was pure escapism. Beautifully and elegantly written, the rich, vivid imagery transported me to the Greek Island of Hydra and the heady summer of 1960 so clearly that I could feel the sun on my skin and taste the salt on my tongue. The author brings to life a time of freedom, innocence and discovery when everything seemed so much simpler. After finishing I was left with a longing for that summer like I myself had lived it. 

The fantastic cast of characters leap from the page and it was only after reading the author’s notes that I realised that these are real people and the story is based in fact. It is clear that the author has extensively researched her characters and I found myself heading to google to learn more about them. I loved Erica. When she arrives on the island she is fleeing from the sadness of her mother’s death and her father’s tyranny and is in the throes of passionate first love. In this bohemian society she finds a home like she has never experienced before and I enjoyed watching her journey of self-discovery. Erica’s pain at her mother’s death and longing for her is a theme that runs throughout the book. She is searching for that mother figure she’s lost in Charmian but doesn’t really get back what she hoped for in return and it made me want to put my arms around her and mother her myself. 

A Theatre For Dreamers is an atmospheric, immersive and delightful novel. It offers an escape and enables you to visit the shores of a Greek Island during a time when we are all unable to go much further than our back gardens. 

Rating: ✮✮✮✮✫

Polly Samson Author pic


Polly Samson is an English novelist, lyricist and journalist. She is married to musician David Gilmour, and has written the lyrics to many of Gilmour’s works, both as a solo artist and with the group Pink Floyd.

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