“My heart works in a different way, but it’s yours. You’re my one.”
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.
Big thanks to Berkley Publishing and Penguin Random House International for providing advanced reading copies of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review. Special thanks also to Fay of Bibliophile Soprano for trusting me and letting me join the blog tour; and Raf of The Royal Polar Bear Reads for making sure I get a chance to get the ARC through his travelling book tour.
Equal parts sexy, funny and insightful, Helen Hoang gives us another romantic masterpiece in The Bride Test. You can really get lost in this novel. It is so unputdownable! All the characters are likable—even the supporting characters like Quan and Cô Nga. Just like in The Kiss Quotient, I loved the family dynamics. It’s so wonderful to see adult males being sweet and obedient to their moms and the elder in the family. The friendship between the cousins Khai, Quan and Michael is also adorable.
“I don’t care what these hands do as long as they’re yours.”
The plot itself—a controlling mother arranging a bride for her socially-awkward son— could have gone the wrong way and turned out trite, but with Hoang’s skilled writing, I immediately warmed up to the story. Esme is simply lovable. I really admired her kindness, determination and her devotion to her daughter, mother and grandmother. As a person who also grew up in poverty, I totally understand how she feels about being born without enough opportunities. Sometimes we are dealt with a bad hand in life, but our fate is ours to control.
Ultimately the romance in this novel is just a bonus to its exploration of normalizing autism, promotion of consent and its inspiring story of an immigrant’s journey to better her life. Esme is a truly admirable heroine—a strong female character who does not need a man to get ahead in life. She is not afraid to fight for love, but she valued education and hard work over romance. She knows and upholds her worth as a woman. It turns out at the end that she was loosely based on Hoang’s mother’s story and it made much more sense to me how she was able to create such a believable character. (Do not miss the author’s note at the end!)
“Her history didn’t define her. Her origins didn’t define her. At least, they shouldn’t. She could be more, if she had a chance.”
I will definitely look forward to reading more from Helen Hoang. Hopefully the next book will be about Quan! 💛
Overall Rating: 4/5
About the Author
Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since.
In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT.
She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.
Helen is represented by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang
Paperback, 296 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Berkley
ISBN 0451490827 (ISBN13: 9780451490827)
Blog Tour Schedule
Athena D. of The Book Junkie’s Blog
Treena of wellreadmisty
Jennilyn of Rurouni Jenni Reads
Angelica of Whimsy Wanders
Fay of Bibliophile Soprano
Karlita of Tale Out Loud
Alexia of The Bookworm Daydreamer
Ynnah of The Youngvamp’s Haven
Leslie of Bibliophilekid
Kate of Your Tita Kate
Cathrina of Puggyreader Writes
Princess of Princess and Pages
Shaine of Wanderer in Neverland
Athena S. of The Night Faerie
Elena of The Queen Reads
Abigail of Reading Flamingo
As part of #TheBrideTestPH we are giving away two proof copies of the book. Enter and get a chance to win by clicking the image below:
Best of luck!! 🌸