Tuesday, May 7, 2019

5 Stars to The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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.

5 stars

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The Bride Test proves that Helen Hoang is not a one hit wonder, ya’ll. This one was so good! Did I love it as much as The Kiss Quotient? Not quite, but that was a really tough act to follow. Still, it was wonderfully written, delightful, and swoony.

If you’ve read TKQ, you know Khai, who is Michael’s cousin. His mother is a bit bossy and wants him married. She knows how Khai is and knows he will never go after a woman on his own, so she finds the perfect girl for him while visiting Vietnam.

“I chose her for you when I went to Việt Nam. You’ll like her. She’s perfect for you,” she said.

“I don’t—You can’t—I—” He shook his head. “What?”

“Yeah,” Quan said. “That was my reaction, too. She got you a mail-order bride from Vietnam, Khai.”

"Why do you say it so it sounds so bad? She's not a 'mail-order bride'. I met her in person.”

Esme comes from Vietnam to America for a new life. She is strong, brave, and wants better than what she has. She’s nervous and hopes that Khai will like her. She doesn’t know english well and it’s hard for her to adjust at first. Khai doesn’t make it easier for her… it’s not on purpose, it’s just his way. But no matter how Khai acts, Esme is patient with him.

He always expected her to turn him away, but she never did. It was a heady thing, her acceptance.

Khai and Esme living together was something else. Khai just doesn’t know how to live with a woman. And as their relationship progresses, things get really confusing for Khai. He doesn’t know how to express his feelings and he thinks he can’t feel certain emotions, even though its obvious he can and he does.

Helen Hoang is a gem. She’s an author who writes what she knows and does it so well. I respect her and love her words. I love so much that her characters have obstacles to overcome and are flawed. They’re real and I can appreciate that. I don’t always want to read a romance with a perfect hero or heroine, that’s not real life. Hoang seamlessly gives us the best balance of realness mixed in with just a little bit of that fairy tale love story.

Khai and Esme completely charmed me. Sometimes two people so different can be perfect for one another. That is them. Khai is autistic, and I loved that he wasn’t a carbon copy of Stella. He had his issues, but he was so lovable. I loved how sweet and determined Esme was. She didn’t want Khai for his money, she just wanted him. Yes, she was fighting for a better life for herself and her daughter, but she grew to truly care for Khai. Their romance was a slow burn and it was great watching it grow.

She didn't need a rich man. She just needed someone who was hers.

The Bride Test is a book you don’t want to miss out on. I laughed, I cried, I smiled and I had so many feels! And I just want to put it out there, I want a Quan book so badly! He was the absolute best in this book! This story was all consuming, heartwarming, and the best kind of romance! I can’t wait for the next book in this series, I’ll be reading anything and everything Helen Hoang releases!!

Warm. Content. Safe in his arms. Him safe in hers. She hugged him tighter. He was bigger and stronger, but she would protect him with everything she had.

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