Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 5th – 6th January 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: Fortunately, this kind of firm touch was acceptable – he liked proprioception and deep pressure.
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? Can he find the strength to let go, and let love in?
This was one of those books that I read cover to cover, completely unwilling to put it down. It was brilliant and clever. Cute and the kind of book that left me with a smile on my face. In fact, I was almost late to work the next day because I couldn’t put this down and stayed up way too late reading.
Khai is a great male lead. You don’t get many neurodiverse leads in books, so having one that featured so strongly was brilliant. The fact that Hoang is neurodiverse herself makes his differences all that much more realistic. Not only did I find it seriously relatable, but I also love how Hoang is able to use her work to bring autism to the forefront in a light and understandable manner. Add to that the fact that Khai is a gorgeous romantic lead, well, it made everything that much more… yummy. And sweet. And I just wanted to hug everyone on the pages!
I’ve read a few contemporary stories which feature immigrants. And even non-fiction books. I haven’t yet read one which features an immigrant. Someone from poverty who is travelling to another country to try and make their lives better. Particularly when that person is effectively a mail order bride. Again, Hoang is able to provide an educated insight into the unique challenges of finding oneself in this situation.
I love the romance that Hoang takes you on in her story writing. But, I think the thing that I love the most and keeps me coming back again and again and again is the way in which she is able to feature marginalised groups. And she doesn’t do this from her imagination, but, rather, she is able to create these amazingly diverse characters from her own experiences, or the experiences of those near her.
This novel melted my heart and left me grinning from ear to ear. It is cute and sweet. And most definitely impossible to forget. Definitely one that I will be rereading at some point in the future.
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