Last Dance; And a Loving Mother

Stephen Manning

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    20th Century (multiple decades)











    A gripping story of how a loving family deals with the many successes life has to offer but also how a family deals with some significant tragedies, including the loss of a son and the devastating effects of breast cancer on a Loving Mother.It's a wonderful journey through the development of a family and the strong influence on that family by a "Loving Mother". Mary Ann final dance with her son at his wedding was a great tribute to her strength and will power to be able to get to that dance floor.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 55+

    Target Gender: Universal


    Untied States and Europe

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: with a Publisher

    Publisher: Bowker

    Year Published: 2020

    Starting Description

    Steve and Mary Ann meet and fall in love and decided to get married and start a family together. The book tells the story of the development of that family.

    Ending Description

    The author has not yet written this

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available



    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Meaningful Message

    Plot - Premise

    The author has not yet written this

    Main Character Details

    Name: Mary Ann Maning

    Age: 61

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Charming, Funny, Gracious, Faithful, Beautiful, Strong Moral Code, Romantic, Religious

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Steve Manning

    Age: 63

    Gender: 63


    Key Traits:

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Ryan Manning

    Age: 24

    Gender: Male

    Role: Emotional

    Key Traits: Gracious, Romantic, Masculine, Strong Moral Code, Faithful, Confident

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this




    A young married couple moves all over the country and has four children. They have strong family values. Their son dies suddenly from an accidental overdose. The mother ends up passing away from breast cancer.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: FAIR

    Franchise Potential: FAIR

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: FAIR

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: GOOD

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It could use some more interesting characters and events before the tragedies. As it is now, it’s just not very enjoyable since it deals with events and character moments that aren’t very engaging. It’s a nice story, just one without gravitas for a great deal of the book. I found myself bored through nearly all of it.

    Draw of Story

    The possibility of a moving and interesting take on family.

    Possible Drawbacks

    The lives of this family aren’t interesting and the real meat of the story are the deaths - but it never goes into much of the fallout, ending with the mother’s death. It’s humorless and a bit dull.

    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    An everyday family dealing with loss.

    Fanbase Potential

    No. It’s an undramatic story until the very end where people die.

    Awards Potential

    If adapted with great actors it could have awards potential for this.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    There isn’t much that’s original here. It would be more unique if the deaths happen earlier and dealt with loss in the family.

    Lead Characters

    They are kind and caring people.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Not a rare gem. It needs more interesting story points instead of moving to a new house and the lead’s dull work.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Indie, Streaming TV Series: Network, Cable, Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation



    It’s dull until the end and would be more interesting with everyday people dealing with mortality. As it is, this doesn’t happen until the end.

    Tips for Improvement

    Interesting characters do interesting things.


    Stephen and Mary Ann marry in their 20s. They have an idyllic life and raise four great children. Kyle dies young from an accidental overdose. Mary Ann is stricken with breast cancer and passes away.

    What We Liked

    Stephen and Mary Ann have an idyllic marriage. They move around the county a lot for Stephen’s career while Mary Ann raises their four children. They have a loving home and a great family life until their son dies from an accidental overdose of painkillers. Mary Ann finds out she has stage four breast cancer and they fight to keep her alive. She succumbs to her illness and the family relies on their faith to keep going.

    Film: The story is a window into the lives of a seemingly perfect family. Although they move a lot, Stephen keeps getting promoted and their life is good. They have four children, until one dies and Mary Ann, the wife, succumbs to breast cancer and passes away as well. This is drama at its finest, with a likable family who do everything right, but God has other plans. The pain of losing a child is palpable and the gravitas doesn’t diminish when the mom gets sick as well. Two surprising deaths test the family’s faith but they’re a strong family and their Catholic faith helps them deal with seemingly senseless tragedies. This could be a tear-jerker that will move and inspire viewers.

    TV: This would make a good limited series. The characters are all good people who deal with life problems that are very relatable. The characters are likable and you root for them. There are plenty of dramatic moment that would be good cliffhangers until the next episode. There is plenty of gravitas but also light hearted moments.

    Key points:
    A look inside a loving, perfect family.
    Settings in America and Europe.
    Likable characters.
    Tragedies to overcome.
    Perseverance of humanity.


    Stephen grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska in the 60s and went to college there, getting an education that will allow him to be a CPA. He takes an offer after school to work in Chicago and sadly says goodbye to his family. He sees Mary Ann in his office and is happy to find out they share a bus to work. They strike up a close friendship when Stephen finds out Mary Ann is already dating someone at the office. On an office sponsored ski trip, he finds out that she is no longer with the guy she was dating and wants Stephen. He’s on top of the world, and they move in together. He takes her to meet his family back in Lincoln, and Mary Ann is a great success. He takes her to a Nebraska football game because he is a big fan. Mary Ann suggests they meet her parents the following weekend. The visit is a success. Steve interviews for a new job further from Chicago and he discusses it with Mary Ann who says he needs to put a ring on her finger before she’ll drop everything and move. Steve gets the job offer and proposes to Mary Ann. Her parents plan the wedding at a country club. Mary Ann gets a scare from her doctor and they opt to have surgery on her ovaries. The doctor performs a successful operation, saving most of both ovaries, so children could still be in their future.

    They move in together, despise the wishes of their Catholic parents. He takes a new job with a big pay increase. They enjoy planning their wedding with a honeymoon in the form of a Caribbean cruise. The wedding goes off without a hitch and they fly to Miami to board their honeymoon cruise. The food is great and the people they met were nice even though some were too talkative. They decided to wait three years before trying for children. They return home and Stephen is immediately sent to Mexico City because of some problems there. Mary flies down to visit and they live it up on the strong American dollar. Next, he’s dispatched to London for work. When Mary arrives for a visit, she announces that she’s pregnant. They are over the moon. They go back home and the baby is born. It is an easy labor and their baby girl is perfect. They have her baptized. Stephen needs to move the family to Pittsburgh to further his career. Mary is hesitant but agrees and they find a big house in a nice neighborhood and friendly neighbors who babysit for their daughter Kristie. They are thrilled to find out they’re pregnant again. Christmas is a big event, and grandparents Ray and Midge fly in to watch Kristie open all of her gifts.

    Their second daughter, named Karie, was born without any problems. Stephen gets an opportunity to work in Los Angeles. They always wanted to live in California so he flies there to check out the job and housing market. He reports back to Mary Ann and she reluctantly gives him the okay. They move to LA.
    Stephen doesn’t like his new boss and Mary Ann is frustrated that there aren’t more parents around to talk to since there aren’t as many stay at home moms in the area. Stephen takes a job in the Bay Area and it takes a while to find a house they can afford. They take a couple’s vacation to Switzerland for skiing while the grandparents watched the two little girls. Stephen goes to work for another company but they don’t have to move. Mary Ann is pregnant again and they hope for a boy this time - and they get one. Mary Ann is getting frustrated by being essentially a single mom while Stephen is working so much. He takes her to Napa for the weekend to talk and they agree on a better schedule. They also are pregnant again, and another healthy boy named Kyle is an answer to their prayers. While giving a presentation in Northern California, Stephen gets a note that his father in law has died. He calls Mary Ann. Her father shot himself, not wanting to be a burden any longer to his family. Mary Ann worries that her father might not go to heaven as a suicide but Stephen assuages her that he will. He gets a call from the president of AT&T who has a very attractive job offer for him back in Chicago. Mary Ann is glad to be closer to her mom since her dad died.
    They make the move, but the AT&T offer would move them to Boston, then New Jersey. Mary Ann and Stephen talk, and they decide they want to move back to California and no more moves after that and they decided that Mary Ann’s mother should move in. They buy a lot on a new golf course and build a custom house.
    The kids all play sports in high school. Kristie goes to UCLA for pre-med and Karie goes to Arizona State. Ray shatters his hip and this starts a decline that leads to his death. Stephen’s mother dies as well. The kids are all in college now and Mary Ann has a touch of empty nest syndrome even though Midge is living with them. Mary Ann and Midge help out with the elderly parishioners who can’t get to Sunday mass on their own. They adopt a lonely old lady named Ida and are glad to have her in their lives.
    Stephen gets a call from Mary Ann while he’s working in Michigan. Kyle has died, and the police are opening an investigation. He was given opiates for ankle pain by a friend. Stephen gets flights home and starts writing a letter to Kyle, thinking about the upcoming funeral. They go to the church for counseling and many people show up for Kyle’s memorials. They don’t understand how God could take Kyle from them. A year later, Karie gets married and they have a beautiful ceremony near their home. Midge passes away. Mary Ann is diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. Her outlook is grim. Stephen takes her to San Francisco for chemo and other treatments. Karie has a baby and Mary Ann is able to hold her first grandchild. She suffers a seizure and several small strokes but recovers at home. Ryan is getting married, and Mary Ann is determined to dance with her son on his wedding day. She hangs in and even gets out of her wheelchair to dance with Ryan. She doesn’t have much time left, and passes away a couple of days later. The family continues to be strong with more marriages and children.

    About The Author

    An autobiography by a caring father and husband which pays tribute to his wife.