If you're an Orthodox Christian, there's a lot about "The Other Side of the Bonfire" to love. If you're not, there may be even more.
Fans of women friendship fiction are bound to find themselves along on a journey worth taking, and it starts at page one. Forced into a harrowing departure from yet another broken relationship, 20-something Jewel makes a break with a past that seems like a series of letdowns and failures. With the help of boisterous girlfriend Sara, she signals the end of her old life with a backyard bonfire to destroy all the evidence of bad romances and broken dreams, and starts out fresh.
Before she's gotten very far, she comes to the rescue of an elderly man in black who opens doors for her that had been previously shut -- church doors. Following that first accidental encounter into the sanctuary she never knew existed, Jewel is introduced to the Orthodox faith and meets people she'll come to depend on for friendship and wisdom -- gentle Anna, brusque Xenia, devout Dorothy and another man in black that may signal an end to her loneliness.
Set in verdant Washington state, "The Other Side of the Bonfire" is a breath of fresh air as bracing as its setting. Fans of Melinda Johnson from her first book "Letters to St. Lydia" won't be disappointed, and that's saying something. In this new arena of Orthodox Christian fiction, Melinda's light but masterful touch shines forth.
But again, there's something here for everyone. "The Other Side of the Bonfire" was easy to get into and almost impossible to put down.