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☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ FIVE STARS
If my squeals of delight and joy while reading this book were any indication, then it’s safe to say I loved it! The Bride Test was a refreshingly honest and quirky read – quite a feat to manage in a genre that’s not always known for unique characters and story lines.
While some aspects of this book are well-known tropes – arranged marriage as well as the haters to lover’s trope – this story featured unconventional, diverse characters with an unusual dynamic between them. I definitely enjoyed getting to know Khai and Esme. As fans of The Kiss Quotient would know, Khai’s autism made dating difficult as the potential for misunderstandings was high. Hoang’s authentic, yet respectful, approach to writing about Khai’s autism and the cultural difficulties associated with immigration gained my approval.
What I really loved about this book was the way Esme and Khai gradually learned to communicate with one another. Khai’s insistence on open lines of communication in concern to his inability to anticipate the emotional needs of others completely won me over. He was such a sweetheart underneath all of his aloofness! He genuinely had a kind heart.
My favourite character in this book though was Esme. Which was surprising as I really, really liked Khai. His straightforward nature, politeness and modesty were adorably charming. It was Esme’s inner strength and perseverance throughout the story that truly won my heart over, though. She had come from a life of almost no material assets and laborious work to America. Having put the future of her family first she embarked on a journey that while unconventional, would have been terrifying. Her aplomb and dedication to understand Khai and the foreign land she was in was endearing and you couldn’t help but hope for the best for her. She deserved a happily ever after and some independence for her own dreams!
“How did you change your life when you were trapped like this? Her history didn’t define her. Her origins didn’t define her. At least, they shouldn’t. She could be more, if she had a chance.”
While this book wasn’t very steamy, there was still a dash of it. The physical connection between Esme and Khai was not an easy venture and I loved that the author had taken the time to express this to the reader. The slow-burn romance made the wait for a physical connection worth- while.
“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.”
Overall, this book was very well written, entertaining and highly enjoyable. It surpassed my love for The Kiss Quotient to be my favourite Hoang book as of yet. I’m eagerly awaiting future novels in this series!
// have you read any of Helen Hoang’s books? did you enjoy them? //