Contemporary Romance Fiction

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Title: The Bride Test

Author:  Helen Hoang

My Rating:  🌟🌟🌟

Type: Standalone

Genre: Contemporary Fiction Romance

Primary Characters: Khai Diep & Esme Tran 

Narration: Limited third party  

I had heard of this novel from several fellow bookstagramer’s. I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to pick first – “The Kiss Quotient” or “The bride Test”. Finally, I picked this based on blurb. This is my first Helen Hoang and diversity novel. I had high hopes on this after reading several reviews. I may fall under the minority category in rating this, as I was disappointed when I finished this one.

Plot revolves around Khai and Esme. Khai’s mother thinks, with Khai’s autism he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands. Khai’s mother is desperate to find her son a wife. She travels all the way to Vietnam and gives an interesting proposal to Esme (Vietnamese name of Esme is – My). Esme Tran has lived her entire life in Vietnam and is working at a hotel when she is approached by a woman who has an interesting proposition. Esme’s struggle in living day by day life in Ho Chi Min city, supporting her daughter, mother and grandmother felt realistic. It portrayed a harsh truth of life.  Next part of the plot revolves around the emotions and interactions of main protagonist when they are arranged to face each other.

When I read about Autism in the blurb, I was intrigued about Khai. I wanted to know how autism’s person’s belief to show strong emotions will play a role a leading normal life. It’s very difficult character to write. I totally appreciate the Writers effort in this. Along with Autism, this book held the promise of mixed race life of Caucasian and Vietnamese. I was hoping for a cultural jolt. Somehow I personally feel it sort of took a back track.

I personally felt the relationship development between the protagonists weren’t that good. The qualities they supposedly see in each other weren’t highlighted much. Esme’s daughter was totally sidetracked. I liked Quan. I liked the way he helps and pushes Khai to see that he is capable of love and does a great job of coaxing Khai out of his shell. Narration and plot has its own up’s and down’s. It was good at some points and dragged in between and was good in the end.

This was a cute story of an arranged encounter that worked out for the couple involved. I liked the way love is portrayed among minorities and people with disabilities and that in itself is a beautiful thing.

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Blurb as per Amazon

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, 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 refuses to consider a relationship, 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. So when the opportunity arises to go to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down. This could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go quite 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.

As Esme’s time in the United States dwindles, will Khai let his head catch up with his heart? Will he find the strength to let go, and let love in?

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