THE BRIDE TEST is Helen Hoang's second novel after her
tremendous success of a debut with THE KISSING
In THE BRIDE TEST we see a non-resident Vietnamese mom in
search of a bride for her successful, yet socially different
due to Autism, accountant son. Co, the Mom, is back in
Vietnam interviewing girls suitable for her son, Khai Diep
when she meets My aka Esme Tran at the hotel.
Soon, My, who works at the hotel where Co is meeting
potential brides, impresses Co. Co offers My a summer in
America to impress Khai and hopes for a marriage by the end
of summer. My accepts Co's offer, seeing potential of a new
life and opportunities for a better future especially for
her little daughter.
Once in America, My tries to impress Khai; however along the
way she tries to be more herself and is realistic about her
future in America. That doesn't, though, stop her from
falling for Khai.
Since our lead Khai is autistic, his emotions aren't as
clear to him as I would experience them. He falls for My, is
very much comfortable and almost addicted to her presence in
his otherwise carefully laid out life. It was pretty intense
to see how both Khai and My processed their feelings not
only personally but about each other too.
Their story is subtle, and when you take a moment to think a
bit deeper about it, that's when the intensity hits you. It
is a beautiful story, and the Asian characters were so easy
and relatable. I just wished Khai's character was better
developed and presented. It was almost like what makes Khai
wasn't spoken about much, just in passing references.
Overall I'd read it for its freshness, the Asian context,
and influences on relationships.
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 emotionsâ€”like
grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows
betterâ€”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.