Maggie's Dream

Book Cover


1940s & '50s

Leslie Tall Manning

TaleFlick Top Pick!

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Rosie the Riveter Margaret Lerner must choose between a dream world where she can have anything she wants, and the real world which is not yet ready to accept her independence. This adult fairy tale combines feminism, psychotherapy, and the hidden world of the 1940's tranquilizer epidemic.


Drama,Fantasy,War,Historical Fiction,Suspense/Thriller,Romance

Short Summary

While Maggie Lerner's doctor husband serves in WWII, she repeatedly dreams of a man who waits for her behind a castle door. When Sam returns, Maggie's dream becomes all consuming, disrupting her perfect life. She secretly hires a cutting-edge therapist to help get to the root of this other world.

Due in a few weeks, Maggie's best friend throws her a baby shower. After repeated doses of electric shock therapy, Maggie only remembers fragmented pieces of her other world and the other man she loved. Smiling broadly, she refuses to let negative thoughts get in the way of her new life ahead.


Baltimore, Maryland

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Voyage and Return

Plot - Other Elements

Philosophical Questions,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Language/Profanity,Nudity,Substance Abuse

Main Character Details

Name: Margaret (Maggie) Lerner

Age: late 20's

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Aspiring,Desperate,Secretive,Complex,Skillful

Additional Character Details

Name: Doctor Sam Lerner

Age: 30+

Gender: Male

Role: Skeptic

Key Traits: Educated,Unapologetic,Masculine,Confident,Narcisstic

Additional Character Details

Name: Doctor Germaine

Age: 50's

Gender: Male

Role: mentor

Key Traits: Confident,Educated,Secretive,Skillful

Additional Character Details

Name: John

Age: 30's

Gender: Male

Role: tempter

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aggressive,Charming,Complex,Secretive,Seductive,Engaging,Masculine,Sexy,Romantic

Development Pitch

Beautiful red-headed Maggie Lerner, our Rosie the Riveter protagonist, lives many lies while husband Sam is stationed in Italy operating on the injured. She loves working in a weapons factory like one of the boys. She is relieved to discover she and Sam cannot have children. She is living a second life in a dream where a man in a castle awaits her visits. And she secretly visits a psychotherapist in order to get to the crux of her dream. But what if dreams were real? What if those other worlds were calling to us from a place deeper than our subconscious? What if it only took one little pill to help us travel there? And what if some of those dreams turned into nightmares? This adult fairy tale capitalizes on psychologist Carl Jung's idea of collective consciousness; that perhaps we are all part of a greater collective. In Maggie's Dream, the tranquilizer epidemic of the 1940's becomes a backdrop for one woman's life as she tries to make sense of "independence"--in a time when the world was not yet ready to accept such modern ideology. This book could easily adapt into a limited series or a full-length feature, not only for the actors to dig into profoundly interesting roles, but for the director who will ultimately decide how to play out the twists and turns with regards to reality vs fantasy. Maggie's Dream offers a look into a secretive part of American history not often mentioned while allowing the dreamscape to play an integral role in the story.

About The Author

Leslie Tall Manning is a full-time writer of Adult fiction (GAGA, MAGGIE'S DREAM, and KNOCK ON WOOD) and Young Adult fiction (UPSIDE DOWN IN A LAURA INGALLS TOWN and I AM ELEPHANT, I AM BUTTERFLY). She spent a third of her life in Western Maryland, another third in Southern California, and now resides in Eastern North Carolina, surrounded by historical Victorian houses, ancient graveyards dripping with Spanish moss, and two rivers ripe for sailing. She is proudly represented by the TriadaUS Literary Agency. Awards: GAGA: Self-e Library Journal Selection; Taleflick Pick UPSIDE DOWN IN A LAURA INGALLS TOWN: Sarton Women's Literary Award; North Carolina Project Award; TaleFlick Pick; TailFlick Road to Production Semi-Finalist KNOCK ON WOOD: IndieBRAG Medallion; Reader's Choice Award

Target Audiences

Age: 18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Female Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: Leslie Tall Manning

Year Published: 2017

Hard Copy Available







World War 2 is ongoing when Maggie joins the workforce as one of America’s Rosies operating a drill press. While Sam is in the field working as a doctor, she struggles with sleepless nights and begins to take tranquilizers. The stress and addiction caused Maggie to dream of the same place night after night. When Sam returns, Maggie’s dream starts to consume her life and gets vivid and hard to control. Maggie secretly hires a therapist to help her. After repeated doses of electric shock therapy, she only remembers pieces of her life.

Overall Rating


Point of View


Narrative Elements

Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT

Characterization: EXCELLENT

Commerciality: GOOD

Franchise Potential: GOOD

Pace: GOOD


Structure: EXCELLENT


Accuracy of Book Profile

Yes, the description is accurate.

Draw of Story

It's fascinating to view the juxtaposition between the history just after World War II and the vivid dreamscapes brought to life by Maggie's adventures. While her real world is black and white, her dreams are colorful and vivid. Maggie and her colleagues provide an interesting look into how post-World War II women struggle to adjust to work and personal lives and how drugs were a problem during that time. In addition to her relationship with her husband, her interaction with her therapist is very peculiar and intriguing.

Possible Drawbacks

Maggie’s dream and the growing time she spends in her magical world take over a little too much. While the fantastic elements can be exciting for those who enjoy fantasy and creatures, they can also develop a distraction from what is going on outside of the dream, making the audience wonder if she is hurt or failing in her health.

Use of Special Effects


Primary Hook of Story

When Maggie embarks on a dream hunt into her own subconscious, she quickly becomes obsessed with her utopian fantasies, utterly losing interest in reality. Along with psychological elements, the story plays with contrasting elements such as reality and fantasy, good and evil, light and dark, suspense and reflection.

Fanbase Potential

The story can appeal to a diverse audience: people who enjoy historical fiction and non-fiction, magical realism, fairy tales, social commentary, philosophical questions, women empowerment.

Awards Potential

This is a fascinating narrative with great potential for engagement that could draw the attention of the Awards. The combination of psychological and historical elements can lead to a compelling story that the Awards usually notice.

Envisioned Budget


Similar Films/TV Series


What’s New About the Story

Maggie and her colleagues provide an interesting look into how post-World War II women struggled to adjusted to work and personal lives and how drugs were a problem during that time. A key aspect is that it accurately portrays an era when women experienced changes as fast as those in medicine and how many started to abuse sleeping pills to escape reality and oppression. Additionally, castles with moats, monsters, and magical realism are woven into historical reconstruction, social criticism, and dream interpretation.

Lead Characters

Maggie is a woman ahead of time. Despite being independent, strong, and confident, the pressure to become a mother and housewife puts her under strain as she struggles to adapt to female roles. She falls into a psychological crisis and escapes into a dream world. Maggie and her colleagues also provide an interesting look into how post-World War II women struggled to adjust to work and personal lives.

Uniqueness of Story

This is a rare gem. Through distinct dialogue and details, the story takes the audience back to the 1940s and discusses relevant topics that still affect society today. Maggie's life is seen from the outside and from within by her thoughts and dreams.

Possible Formats

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

Analyst Recommendation



This fascinating story plays with contrasting elements such as reality and fantasy, good and evil, light and dark, suspense, and reflection. It lends itself to a movie or show where the characters could dive into different worlds, expanding the dream and Maggie's journey into multiple films or episodes.