The Bride Test
By: Helen Hoang
Published: May 7th, 2019
From the Cover:
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.
This is the second book of Hoang’s in her Kiss Quotient Series (the first was The Kiss Quotient). What I enjoyed about The Kiss Quotient and what drew me to The Bride Test was Hoang’s depiction of love between imperfect characters as well as her representation of minorities. While this book does follow the “rags to riches” trope that can sometimes be unsavory to read (especially in the modern feminist era), it works in this book. Maybe it’s because the main character Esme Tran is strong-willed and the exact opposite of a damsel in distress. Maybe it’s because the other main character Khai Diep is autistic and resists love and companionship at every turn. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that this book is not only highly enjoyable and humorous, but also challenging and thought provoking.
Hoang was able to achieve similar magic with The Kiss Quotient, and if you are considering reading this book, I would start there first. It’s a little steamier and more modern, however it tells a similar story. I think both of these books are some of the quickest books I have ever read. Hoang is currently working on the third book in this series, which is to be called The Heart Principle and is scheduled for publishing in May 2021. You can be sure to find my review of that book here in the future.