Review: The Bride Test {The Kiss Quotient #2} by Helen Hoang

 

 

Title: The Bride Test

Author: Helen Hoang

Published: July 1st 2019, Corvus

Status: Read June 2019, courtesy Allen & Unwin

++++++

My Thoughts:

I loved The Kiss Quotient, it was such an unexpected delight that I was very much looking forward to reading The Bride Test. Hoang’s second contemporary romance novel, which can be read as a stand-alone, features Khai Diep, who was introduced briefly in The Kiss Quotient as Michael’s cousin.

Khai, a successful business owner in his mid twenties, is content to focus all his energy on his work, convinced that he is incapable of ‘normal’ emotions, and therefore destined to be alone. His mother however is determined that Khai will marry, and travels to Vietnam to find a him a bride whom she will present to her son as a fait accompli.

Mỹ Ngoc ‘Esmeralda’ Tran is a a young woman of mixed Vietnamese/American parentage who works as a hotel maid to support her daughter, mother and grandmother. Though surprised by Cô Nga’s unexpected invitation to spend time with her son in California with a view to marriage, Esme realises that it’s an opportunity too good to pass up. She has the summer, she is told, to convince Khai to make her his bride, or she will be returned to Vietnam.

It’s an inauspicious start to a love story. Esme’s motives can be construed as mercenary, she wants the chance of a better future for both herself and her daughter, and is willing to seduce Khai to secure it. It’s to Hoang’s credit that she manages to evoke sympathy for Esme, but I wasn’t keen that Esme kept so many secrets from Khai, it meant that there was a lack of honesty in their emotional connection which I did find disappointing.

However I wanted the relationship to work, in large part because Khai deserves to find the love and intimacy he believes he is incapable of reciprocating. Though Khai knows he is on the autistic spectrum, it’s clear he doesn’t quite understand what that means in terms of how he experiences emotion, and his response to a tragic incident as a teenager meant he formed an erroneous belief of himself. Khai’s perspective feels authentic and his struggle is actually very moving, even more so I think because his concern is not for himself.

My favourite scene in The Bride Test involved Esme giving Khai a haircut, it was both intimate and very sweet. I loved how Khai found the courage to explain about his needs, and Esme responded in a manner that was matter of fact. This occurs not long before their first kiss, almost halfway through the book.

I didn’t particularly care for the epilogue though which I thought was over the top. Given that we know a third book (most likely to feature Quan) is coming, Hoang could have given us a more subtle update, as she did here when Esme and Khai attended Michael and Stella’s wedding.

I did enjoy The Bride Test, and it has some funny, sweet and sexy moments, but I have to admit that the relationship between Khai and Esme felt uneven to me in a way that Stella and Michael’s did not.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin

Or available from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

 

Click the cover to read my review of The Kiss Quotient

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tanya Atkinson
    Jul 02, 2019 @ 09:57:00

    I was nervous about The Bride Test after loving TKQ so much. I truly enjoyed TBT but it didn’t evoke all those same feelings for me. I loved Khai, I loved Esme, but for some reason I was never 100% sold on their relationship. I never fully felt the connection. But I’m definitely looking forward to Quan’s book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. butimbeautiful
    Jul 02, 2019 @ 10:37:10

    A different take on mail order brides🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Theresa Smith Writes
    Jul 02, 2019 @ 18:35:42

    Glad to hear I can read this as a standalone. It was sent to me for review and I didn’t mind the sound of it.

    Like

    Reply

  4. Lisa
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 00:23:01

    I haven’t read either of these, although I know people seem to love them. Great review… and now I’m off to read your review of the 1st book.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. kozbisa
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 03:28:17

    I enjoyed this book for different reasons than Hoang’s previous book, but I still really loved it. I was all about Esme’s drive to improve her life for herself and for her daughter. Like you, I enjoyed the haircut, which reminded me of the way Michael took the time to learn the best way to approach particular things with Stella. It was really beautiful that they took the time and made the effort to do these little things, which amounted to so much for the other person. Now, that’s very romantic to me.

    Like

    Reply

  6. alisbooks
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 06:41:11

    I have The Bride Test sitting on my jewelry box waiting for me, but I still need to read The Kiss Quotient. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Kathryn
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 06:47:14

    Interesting, I am not sure if I will read it but I know so many have liked both books. Pity about Esme not being fully honest, doesn’t help a relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. vvb
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 10:38:24

    I loved this one as much as the first in the series. Definitely looking forward to Quan’s story.

    Like

    Reply

  9. somethingofthebook
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 11:11:19

    One of these days I need to try this series out. A lot of my friends really like them!

    Like

    Reply

  10. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 11:26:16

    The Kiss Quotient was an unexpected win for me as well. Sorry this one didn’t quite live up to the first, but it definitely still sounds like a good read.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1)
    Jul 03, 2019 @ 20:53:06

    I have been wondering whether to dive in with this book, but I think I might go back to the Kiss Quotient instead (which is probably a good thing even though it’s the first in the series)

    Like

    Reply

  12. Yvo
    Jul 04, 2019 @ 11:34:48

    Wonderful review! I’m definitely curious/nervous to see how I will react to this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. Lindsi
    Jul 04, 2019 @ 15:30:18

    I preordered this book as soon as I could! I loved TKQ and knew I needed the next book in my life. It’s actually sitting beside my computer…waiting to be read…haha. I’ll get to it soon!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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