Review - The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group / Dreamscape Media, LLC
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Date Read: May 15, 2019
Length: 296 pages / 10 hours
Source: Edelweiss / Library
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.
My Review

I really liked this romance.  It is really hard to avoid comparing this book to the author's debut novel, The Kiss Quotient.  We do see some familiar characters in this book and I am actually glad that there is a connection.  Don't let that fool you though.  This is a very different story and I thought it was pretty original.  I have a great time with this one.

I liked the set up for this story.  I thought that it was fun that the whole story begins with Khai's matchmaking mother.  It wasn't quite an arranged marriage story since both characters were able to choose but I thought it was a fun premise for a contemporary story.  Both Khai and Esme had personalities that made the entire set up of the story believable and I have to say that I can understand why Khai's mom decided to take matters into her own hands.

I really liked both of the characters a lot but I would have to say that Khai was my favorite.  Khai is autistic and doesn't always see everything the same way that others do.  He knows this and has decided that he is broken and unable to feel.  He is very high functioning and is very successful in his career.  His personal life isn't doing as well before he meets Esme.  I think that Khai learned a lot about himself over the course of this story and it was great to see him learn how to be a part of a relationship.

Esme really wants to change her life for herself and her daughter.  She decides to take Khai's mother up on her offer to spend the summer with Khai in California in a quest to do just that.  She is not afraid of hard work and really does try to make Khai happy.  Unfortunately, she didn't always understand what Khai needed.  I actually liked Esme more as the story progressed and she started focusing more on herself.  It was at that point that I felt like I really got to know her and her passions.

I think that the romance between these two worked well on a lot of different levels.  Neither one of them felt like they belonged so they had something in common.  Khai explained what he needed and Esme worked really hard to deliver.  They had a lot of chemistry and I really felt that they both seemed to be better when they were together.

I thought that Emily Woo Zeller did an amazing job with this story.  I thought that she did a great job with both points of view in the story.  Character voices were also really well done and I thought that she brought a lot of emotion into the story.  I am really glad that I made the decision to listen to this book.

I would recommend this book to others.  This was a wonderful romance with incredibly strong and unique characters.  It really was a joy to watch this happily ever after come together.  I can't wait to read more from Helen Hoang!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via Edelweiss and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.
About the Author

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired The Kiss Quotient. She currently lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. I've seen lots of people talking about this one. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I liked what I saw of Kai in book 1 :D

  3. I really enjoyed this one too. Wonderful review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  4. Khai was my favorite character, too! I agree, even though there were some characters here from The Kiss Quotient, it was a very different story. Lovely review, Carole! :)

    1. I just realized that I spelled his name wrong all over this review. I guess you can tell I listened to the audio for this one :) Off to make some corrections!

  5. I still need to read The Kiss Quotient. Glad you enjoyed this enough to recommend it!

  6. This one has been making the rounds on the blogs. Glad to hear you liked it.

  7. Someday, I will read this one and the first one. I like how she tackles autism and also how a woman comes as part of an arranged marriage possibility. :) Glad you loved on it after adoring book one.

  8. I will be listening/reading this one soon. Loved book one.

  9. Khai was the highlight of this book for me. His character arc was amazing. Unfortunately, Esme never grew on me.

    Great review, Carole. I'm glad you enjoyed this one.

  10. I loved the set up for this book too, and once again, Hoang does what is so special about both her books. She educates us about neurodiverse people through the actions of the characters in the books. I especially loved the way Khai expressed his needs in this book. I adore Esme! I was so proud of everything she was doing to improve her life.

  11. Wahoo! Awesome review! Glad to hear this was a hit!

  12. It sounds like you really enjoyed this one and I am so happy to hear that because I am really looking forward to reading this one so much. I am glad you found the couple to be so well paired with each other and I am loving that they are so compatible in many different ways x

  13. How "romancey" is the romance in this? I want to read it, but I don't care much for romance. Ha ha. 🙈

    1. It is definitely a romance. It's not all hearts and flowers but it is definitely a romance. It's more about figuring out each other and one's self.

  14. I really need to read this and this author. Happy you loved it. Seen many great reviews.


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