The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
What I’m Talking About:
As a high-functioning autistic adult, Khai Diep thinks he is incapable of emotion and is content in the routine of his life, but his mother feels it is time for him to find a wife. She travels to Viet Nam where she finds My (Esme) working as a maid in a hotel. Believing her to be a good fit for her son, she offers Esme the opportunity to come to America for the summer. Esme’s grandmother and mother encourage her to go so she can find a better life for herself, her daughter Jade, and their family.
The Bride Test is a wonderful story about two people finding an unlikely bond while living outside of and growing beyond their individual comfort zones. My (who Americanizes her name to Esme when coming to the U.S.), has never been away from her family or traveled from home. She is living and working in a foreign country and even takes classes to better herself. Her motivation comes from believing in herself and that she can provide a better life for her family, but she also feels the need to fit in and be smart so Khai will want to marry her. Esme always believed in herself, but the realization she can be a strong, independent, American woman is inspiring. She learns as she goes and realizes she can make it with or without a man.
Meanwhile Khai has preferred to be alone, especially after his cousin and best friend died in a motorcycle accident ten years ago. Khai was unable to shed a tear for his cousin and is convinced he is different in a bad way. Yet he tolerates the whirlwind that is Esme, a change to his living space and how he interacts with others. As he grows accustom to her presence, he realizes he is becoming addicted to her very essence. But Khai does not see it as love, because he is broken and cannot love. Khai is a torment of emotions, even though he doesn’t realize it, and the heartache he experiences is authentic and powerful.
The Bride Test is an unconventional love story. I felt swept up in the story most of the time. The way Khai processes emotion, it was powerful as it built up until I was drowning in it. I love the transformation of Esme. My only hesitation on giving it a perfect review is that I was slightly disappointed with the too-quick ending. There were one too many perfect surprises, and then it was over. I just wish the events had been spread out a bit, and we got to enjoy Esme and Khai as a couple before the book was over.
The Bride Test is another wonderful romance from Helen Hoang. She brings a fresh voice to underrepresented characters, helping them shine with authenticity. I adore Esme and Khai. I felt their frustrations and joys while coming to terms with what it means to be in love. The story is charming: both gritty and sentimental simultaneously. The highs and lows are perfectly placed to connect me to the story and characters and take me on a beautiful ride. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Hoang brings readers next.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot
About the Book:
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (320 pages), e-book, audiobook
Reviews in the Series:
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient #1)