Publication Date: May 7th 2019 by Berkley
From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart...
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.
I LOVED The Kiss Quotient, couldn’t put it down, and so I’ve been looking forward to The Bride Test, albeit with a little reservation. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high just in case I didn’t like it as much. Looks like I didn’t need to worry, Helen Hoang beautiful, soul reaching writing comes through again in Khai and Esme’s story.
I enjoyed their slow journey getting to know each other, figuring each other out, and sorting out their feelings. Khai’s normal balance is upset with the addition of Esme and it was funny watching his frustrated confusion when she did things he didn’t understand. Irritated that this doesn’t stem his growing attraction to her. He’s also sure that starting something with Esme wouldn’t be good long-term for anyone since he doesn’t feel capable of having an emotion like love. Sure, he could become addicted to her to the point Esme’s absence would ruin any future peace. But would getting involved with no prospect for love be fair to her? It was apparent to me that Khai loved by his actions both with Esme and his family, but the problem was this wasn’t how Khai interpreted his own emotions.
Esme wanted everything to work out with Khai, at first because of the opportunity for a better life for her and her family, but she was immediately attracted to him, too. Her feelings only intensify as the story goes on, and Esme worried she was headed for heartbreak. Especially since every time she gets her hopes up that Khai’s falling too, something happens to crush her feelings. Understandable when she doesn’t fully understand the issues with autism.
Both Khai and Esme were a little outside of the world they lived in, Khai because of his autism and Esme because of her culture, and I feel that commonality bonded them even more. They get their signals mixed a bit at first, but they seem to get a better understanding of each other as the book goes on. What I loved most is how invested I was in these fictional characters! Helen Hoang did a masterful job of bringing Khai and Esme feelings come to life so that I felt their pain, yearning and passion right along with them! With The Bride Test Ms. Hoang proves her writing skills were no fluke, and I can’t wait for whatever she has in store next!
Berkley has kindly provided a Paperback Copy of The Bride Test to giveaway to one lucky reader! Simply fill in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win! The giveaway is open to US Residents only.