One Step From Grace

by Barbara J. Petee



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 7/7/1977

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.25x11
Page Count : 516
ISBN : 9781588202758

About the Book

"When a love is as strong as the two of you profess to share, the rest usually falls into place." That’s what psychiatrist Neal Wallace tells his patient, David Durling, during their first official meeting as David begins to let out some of his fears about his new life.

At forty-one years of age, David, the head of the family trade, Durling and Sons Landscape and Tree Service, and devoted husband and father to Karen and Jeff, had the world by a string. Until, on the first morning of summer, a work-related fall leaves David permanently paralyzed. Determined to shepherd David back to his world, Karen uses her connections with the medical staff at Toledo Medical Center where she is director of media and physician relations. Those same connections land David a spot at the exclusive Clear River Rehabilitation Center where the ‘best of the best’ in their field help David regain his strength and courage to face his new world.

With the entire family working so thoughtfully to recover their lives that have been violently uprooted, Karen believes that nothing, and no one, can jeopardize their progress. And she prays for guidance from her deceased mother, Grace, whom she considers her guardian angel since her death twenty years earlier. Then, on the hottest night of the summer, Karen’s greatest sin from her past is revealed as the bridge to her husband’s future. But she’s quite willing to walk through the fires of her newfound Hell so that her entire family can know the feeling of ‘Heaven on Earth’ again. And throughout the long summer, Karen comes to understand that the secrets one keeps can be the most halting obstacles in life. And it is she who must find the inner strength to match David’s determination to move ahead, bury the past, and forgive herself for the misstep that caused her own step from grace. Because no matter what, life goes on.


"This manuscript, authored by the exciting new voice of middle America, Barbara Petee, speaks to the passion and intensity of life in a tranquil river community. Ms. Petee’s ascetic style emboldens the struggles of an everyday family as they are threatened by a shattering event as tragic as its origins were charitable."

- James V. Lustig, M.D.

About the Author

Barbara Petee has spent most of her professional life in Toledo, Ohio where she serves as Corporate Director for Community Relations and Advocacy, for ProMedica Health System.  Coupled with her dual degrees in Journalism and American Literature, from Michigan State University, Barbara uses her 20-plus years of health care experience to weave a memorable tale that captures the defining moments of a family’s life, and how acceptance or denial of those moments can lead to a life of beauty or regret.


Barbara and her husband, Tim, have two children and live in Sylvania, Ohio.  One Step From Grace marked her fiction debut and its sequel, My Father’s House, is also available through AuthorHouse and wherever fine books are sold. 

Here’s What Readers Are Saying About One Step From Grace



I loved this book! I cried, and laughed and felt connected with this family from the start. How wonderful to have a story so honest and heart-wrenching, yet triumphant at the same time.


Warm, loving, tragic novel; couldn't put the book down!  Barbara Petee's vivid descriptions of the Durling's life of tragedies, love, compassion -- the essence of life --- is so well written I look forward to all stories that will follow.


The read of the year! This novel is, quite simply, the best book I have read this year. While the story of the Durling family is achingly beautiful in both its honesty and heartwarming reaffirmation of the human spirit, it was the writing of Ms. Petee that most moved me. Effortless, flowing, and gut-wrenchingly real, the words of this up-and-coming writer are a credit to the literary world.