Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins

Behind the Red Door is a 320-page mystery novel by Megan Collins. I received an ARC from NetGalley as a recommendation based on the fact that I love Ruth Ware’s novels. If you like Ruth Ware, you might enjoy Behind the Red Door, too.

Behind the Red DoorAlthough the mystery of the story is great (a decades-old kidnapping that was never solved, even though the kidnapped child was returned), my favorite thing was how well the author portrayed the main character, Fern, who suffers from anxiety. Collins not only shows the inner workings of Fern’s mind and her reactions to stressful and anxiety-inducing situations, she also peppers in bits of wisdom from Fern’s therapist. That’s completely relatable, considering that when I’m feeling particularly anxious, I also repeat mantras my therapist has told me.

Fern has a supportive husband and a prickly relationship with her parents, and those relationships are explored in depth since Fern goes back to her hometown to help her father with *a task* (spoiler). While she’s back home, Fern encounters childhood friends and bullies, and it’s fascinating to see what spikes her anxiety and how she copes with old trauma. Since she’s spending time away from her husband, she has to be her own anchor in an increasingly unsettling situation. While she deals with all of that, she also fuels her own obsession with a recurring dream and her possible connection to the decades-old kidnapping.

It’s not often that I read a mystery novel and come away with an appreciation of how much the main character grew throughout the story. This book is definitely an exception, because the character work was outstanding. Add to that an exploration of mental health and complex family dynamics… Behind the Red Door is truly fantastic and a quick, engrossing read.

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TITLE: Behind the Red Door
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AUTHOR: Megan Collins
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PAGES: 320
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ALSO WROTE: The Winter Sister
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FIRST LINE: Now that it’s summer, it’s not my job to protect the children.
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