After THE KISS QUOTIENT blew me away, I was nervous (to say the least) to start THE BRIDE TEST. I had seen the rave reviews and wanted to love it just as much as everyone else. And for the most part, I absolutely did. This book follows Khai, a man with autism, and Esme, a woman Khai’s mother finds in Vietnam for him to marry. Esme and Khai have to live together for one summer to see if they suit. I love a good arranged marriage trope with the delicious addition of forced proximity thrown in there.
I’m learning that one of the best parts of Helen Hoang’s books is that they’re imminently readable. I picked this book up on a Sunday morning and hit the last page by mid-afternoon the same day. Ms. Hoang’s writing inspires laughs, feels, and the occasional tear. Her ability to portray Esme and Khai’s individual personalities and quirks completely invested me in both of them. The characters were so real and vibrant in my mind, not something that happens every day.
My favorite part about this story was the nuanced and delicate portrayal of Khai’s autism and Esme’s immigrant experience. Their stories individually would have captivated me, and to be honest, one story could have easily out shown the other. But Ms. Hoang deftly wrote and intertwined both stories in a way that made them both shine.
The only thing that kept this from being a five-star read was Esme’s daughter. I thought to keep her a secret from Khai was absolutely awful, and I had to try to forgive Esme for it throughout the book. I also thought that the resolution of her hidden daughter was merely skimmed over. As if the addition of a daughter to their relationship dynamic wouldn’t change anything.
Overall, this was an absolutely gorgeous romance novel. Sexy, sweet and everything in-between, I highly recommend it. In the meantime, I’ll just be over here anxiously waiting on Quan’s book!
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**