Saturday, May 11, 2019

Book Review: "The Bride Test" by Helen Hoang

"Khai didn't hurt. He felt nothing most of the time. That was exactly why he steered clear of romantic relationships. If someone liked him that way, he'd only end up disappointing them when he couldn't reciprocate. It wouldn't be right."

Khai Diep is handsome, successful, a devoted son and brother. He has his routines and he likes everything in its place. He thinks he's broken because he doesn't feel emotions the way others do, and it has caused his problems. But his family knows it's just the way his autism manifests itself, and they want to help him because they know how special he is.

Because Khai isn't interested in getting involved in a romantic relationship, his mother decides she needs to intervene. On a trip to Vietnam she meets Esme, a young, mixed-race girl working as a maid in Ho Chi Minh City, and is taken by Esme's beauty, her integrity, and her intelligence. She offers Esme the opportunity to come to America and live with Khai for the summer and attend a few family weddings with him, in the hopes that she can make him fall in love with her and decide to marry her. If not, she'll go back to Vietnam.

While she is shocked at first about this offer, Esme realizes this is an amazing opportunity for a new life, for her and her family. Khai is handsome and kind, and she would love to marry him. But seducing him isn't as easy as she thought it might be. Although she is quickly smitten with Khai, he resists her advances even though he is immensely attracted to her. As he realizes that if he doesn't marry her, he'll lose her forever. But Esme wants it all, and won't settle for a marriage of convenience, no matter how much she has fallen in love with Khai.

"It wasn't loneliness if it could be eradicated with work or a Netflix marathon or a good book. Real loneliness would stick with you all the time. Real loneliness would hurt you nonstop."

The Bride Test is an utterly charming, sweet, and poignant rom-com, about the things we're willing to do for those we love, and the sacrifices we're not willing to make. This is also quite a sexy book—the sex scenes are pretty steamy!

I love the characters Helen Hoang created—they're tremendously memorable and likable, and I won't soon forget them. I really enjoy the way she writes, so now I'm going to need to read The Kiss Quotient, too. This is definitely a book that would make a terrific movie, if only because I'd love to see how Khai and Esme (and Quan, too) would look on the big screen!

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