You know I loved The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang last year and I knew I was gonna love The bride test too, given the raving reviews it has been getting from all around. Can we get on with the review?
About the book
Book Name: The bride test (The Kiss Quotient #2)
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Fiction – Romance
Characters: Khai Diep, Quan and their mother, Esme Tran, Michael
Esme Tran is a self made woman, a single mother from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who has been recruited by a rich lady to meet her son and win his heart, in a year. And in return, she gets a chance to the USA to look for her American father and help her family financially, if things go well.
Khai Diep leads a perfectly efficient life and he is not big on emotions. He usually ignores his mother’s nagging to get married as harmless, but when she brings in a woman to stay with him at his house, he is completely taken aback.
Did his mother’s plan work? Can Esme win Khai’s heart and more importantly, understand why he is not like everyone else? Is he really not like everyone else? Read The bride test by Helen Hoang to find out more.
My initial thoughts
I LOVED The bride test and I am going ahead to say I am gonna pick any book by Helen Hoang in the near future. She knows how to write characters that are fully developed and complex. Here is Khai who has made his mind up that he is above emotions and Esme can marry him only if he feels what she feels for him.
And both the families are rooting for them. His brother Quan goes a step ahead and even tries to speed things between them in his own way. I don’t remember the last time I laughed out loud reading a book.
I loved Quan and I can’t wait to read a book about his story. Interesting fact: If you have read The Kiss Quotient, you might remember Quan, the protagonist Michael’s cousin, who recognizes that Stella is autistic, because he had an autistic brother. That brother is our protagonist, Khai Diep. And Michael plays a cameo too.
The only problem I had was with dishonesty and omission.
Esme and Khai’s mother explicitly hide the fact that she was doing the whole arranged marriage for her own gains and the fact that she has a child back home in Vietnam. In fact, they agree to wait for him to fall for her, before telling him the truth.
And again, his mother omits telling her that Khai is autistic. I understand Esme turned out to be a great support to him and all. To be fair, doesn’t she have the right to know before agreeing to the deal? Go figure.
What worked for me
- I loved the OWN VOICE representations, as the author being autistic and a Vietnamese herself
- Oh the romance and chemistry! And it has been a while since I felt this invested in any fictional romance. Again, great writing.
- The humorous and witty dialogues help the the Bride Test from being a steamy or sappy romance. Stellar combo!
- I loved that all the characters, not just the protagonists, are full developed, with emotional depth.
What may have been better
- Some people may find all the deception and disregard to Khai’s feelings off putting.
If you are looking for a steamy, happily-ever-after with great Own voice representations, The bride test by Helen Hoang is your go to choice. You will not regret it. It comes close to being The Kiss Quotient !
Have you read The bride test by Helen Hoang or The Kiss Quotient? Does deception and omission hinder your liking of a romance? What are your main no go’s when it comes to romance? Let us talk.