Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Title: The Bride Test
Series: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 7, 2019

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.

Looking back to 2018, I can say that The Kiss Quotient was my favorite romance novel. The characters, their limitations and the way they fell in love brought happiness to my heart. So with that being said, you can guess how desperate I was to get my hands on The Bride Test. With all my heart, I was hoping to love it as much as its predecessor. Yet, it was not meant to be. I liked it but I didn't love it. 

Why you ask?

My answer has to be that I felt there was a lack of connection between both main characters. I love Khai and Esme as separate entities but I didn't FEEL their love for each other which was disheartening.

The novel begins in Vietnam where a desperate mother is trying to find the perfect wife for his autistic son. Khai Diep's mother thinks she has found the perfect one in Esme Tran. 

Esme is a young woman. Her mother is Vietnamese and her father is an American whom she has never met. Her family is poor and she lives with them in a small bedroom. She works cleaning bathrooms and here is where she meets Khai's mother. When she's offered to come to America and have the chance at a better life, she knows she has to take it. Not only for herself but to help her family.

Khai Diep believes he can't love. He's autistic and when his best friend died, he couldn't cry. He knew that day that he was different. He felt that something was wrong with him. Since then, he doesn't believe he can love. He won't have any romantic relationships. When his mother brings Esme to his home, he's shocked. He doesn't want Esme there but he also doesn't want to upset his mother. He hopes he can avoid Esme for the next three months and then she will be out of the picture. 
Funny how things don't happen the way we want them too. Esme founds herself liking Khai even though she doesn't understand him half the time. 

I like Esme. She was trying to do what was best for her and her family. She had ambition and purpose without being heartless. She was patient with Khai and she appreciated his uniqueness. 

Khai was an extremely interesting character. His autism and the way he handled it was well portrayed by Mrs. Hoang. His love for numbers, running in his suit, not wanting to have light touches and so many other details made him endearing to me. 

Like I said earlier, I love both characters, I just didn't feel their love for each other. No one is more disappointed than me. I think I have no one to blame but myself. I had such high expectations for The Bride Test

I do hope the next book makes me fall in love again. I'm hoping it's Quan's story. He was fantastic as a character in The Bride Test. He stole so many good scenes and he was prepared to do the right thing while helping Khai realize what love was.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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