THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang

From the Back Cover

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.

My Thoughts

After reading (and loving!) Helen Hoang’s debut THE KISS QUOTIENT last summer, I was painfully excited for her follow-up companion novel, THE BRIDE TEST.  I’m grateful I saved it for a time when I really needed a light read- because romance seems to be all I can get through these days.

“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.”

THE BRIDE TEST offers a wonderfully complex narrative featuring our two main characters, Esme, a young Vietnamese mother and housekeeper, and Khai, an introverted accountant who sits somewhere on the autism spectrum.  It’s essentially a fake relationship story: Khai’s mother brings Esme to America to be his fiancé, worried for Khai’s ability to find a wife on his own.  This story is full of wonderful insights into Esme’s immigration experience and her journey learning English, as well as Khai’s struggles with his autism and past trauma.  I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer depth of the novel, though I found some general issues with the timeline, which felt rushed and unrealistic, almost too-good-to-be-true.

Overall, I really enjoyed THE BRIDE TEST, which came as no surprise given how much I enjoyed THE KISS QUOTIENT.  With this incredibly three-dimensional romance, Helen Hoang has solidified herself as a must-read romance author in my book!


  1. Literary Elephant

    Great review! I really liked this one also, and am so excited for the next book in this set! Helen Hoang always delivers on a great relationship with deeper commentary, exactly the sort of romance I look for. I’m glad you liked this one too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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