I don’t normally read romance books, not because I have anything against them, I’m just normally stuck in the YA sphere, but I always make an exception for Hoang. Last year I heard a few people talking about a book called The Kiss Quotient and I picked it up on a whim and devoured it. The Bride Test was no different.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
For me, Hoang’s romances just check all the right boxes. There are heroines with fabulous back stories, emotional tension that gives you shivers, and scenes that make your heart clench. There’s plenty of steam, don’t worry, but it’s all about that tender and tense emotional build up. The Bride Test is no exception. The Kiss Quotient will always have a very special place in my heart, but The Bride Test was a fabulous next book and I need more!
The characters in Hoang’s books are always the best quality in my opinion. In The Bride Test it is no different. Khai’s autism convinces him not only that he is incapable of love, but of any emotion. And this feeling of feeling so abnormal, so different, touched a chord. In many ways, this is a book about a romance, but it’s also about changing our thinking about ourselves, our future, and what is possible.
And for Esme, it was almost an instant adoration. Esme is fierce and she’s struggling both with her own family, and the circumstances of her new opportunity. Esme is incredibly determined, to follow her heart – even if it’s hard – and to make the most of herself. Her journey is one of the most satisfying, because of how hard she works and how you just want her to only have good things. Not to mention she is genuinely empathetic and caring.
In many ways, The Bride Test is a book about family – the lengths we will go to for family, and the choice of letting people into our close knit circle. At the end of the day, The Bride Test is truly fabulous because of the strength of its characters, main and side alike. If you finished The Kiss Quotient and want more, or you want a romance with amazing characters, or just an engaging story, check out The Bride Test.