ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
Helen Hoang does it again with her second novel. I was in a bit of a romance reading slump when I picked up ‘The Bride Test’ but it turned out to be an absolutely enchanting novel! While this book is funny and VERY steamy, it also touches on some very sensitive issues with depth and great care. Helen Hoang has a very deft touch with the outsiders of our society and this story was a joy to read.
The hero Khai is a brilliant, successful Vietnamese-American with autism. Nothing quite touches him the way others might be touched. He seems stone-hearted and cold but in reality, he just sees and feels things in a different way than most people. The author paints a very vivid picture of a high-functioning autistic adult.
“Nothing gets to you. It’s like your heart is made of stone.”
Kahi’s mother is desperate for him to marry and she thinks the only way is for her to bring a young woman to America from Vietnam. And that woman is Esme. She is uneducated, poor but smart and hard-working. She only wants a better life for the young child she left behind in Vietnam. While this might sound a little heavy-handed, the plot is actually sexy and light-hearted where it needs to be. I fell in love with Khai and Esme and all of the supporting characters!
“He was strange and tactless and very possibly an assassin, but when she looked at his actions, all she saw was kindness. Cô Nga had been right. Khải was good stuff. Very, very good stuff.”
This story tackles some very timely and important subjects such as immigration, education and poverty. Helen Hoang has a knack for writing brave, lovable characters who are intelligent and caring. Although the main protagonists certainly “meet cute”, their story is warm, sexy and very emotional. And a Vietnamese heroine! I love it. I highly recommend this very quirky and sweet romance. And the Author’s Note is a must-read!
(An ARC was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.)
I have an extra unfinished paperback copy of THE BRIDE TEST to give away!