Overall: 5/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: The Bride Test will not let you down. It has everything you could want in a romance, and more.
“How did you change your life when you were trapped like this? Her history didn’t define her. Her origins didn’t define her. At least, they shouldn’t. She could be more, if she had a chance.”
// Content Warning: Grief, Mental Illness, Autism, Mature Content //
– Premise –
The Bride Test is a companion novel to Helen Hoangs debut, The Kiss Quotient. You definitely don’t need to read The Kiss Quotient before reading this, but I still highly recommend it because The Kiss Quotient is one of my favorite books of all time. If you did read it, then you may remember Khai. Khai is convinced that he can’t love, but his mother has decided that he needs to get married, so she goes to Vietnam to find him his bride. When Esme is offered a trip to America to marry Khai, she agrees to try to win Khai over and get a better life for her and her daughter.
”Warm. Content. Safe in his arms. Him safe in hers. She hugged him tighter. He was bigger and stronger, but she would protect him with everything she had.”
– Writing & Setting-
Helen Hoang is slowly (well, actually, not so slowly) becoming my favorite romance author. Her books are so fun, down to earth, and just amazing. Her writing style is simple and straightforward, with lighthearted humor and so much heart. The settings of her books don’t really get much attention, but they don’t need to, because it’s the characters that shine.
“He always expected her to turn him away, but she never did. It was a heady thing, her acceptance.“
– Plot –
I couldn’t put this book down. I meant to just start reading it, because I was in a slump and thought maybe it might get me motivated to read again, but I didn’t expect it to fully take over my evening. I couldn’t stop reading! I finished in one sitting and just wanted more. The plot is fast-paced, with drama unraveling at every corner, and the relationships developing at the perfect rate. There is not one boring moment in this book.
– Characters –
Helen Hoang writes neurodivergent characters so well. It just fills me with so much joy, seeing autism and mental illness represented so well. These characters are realistic and honest, but mental illness is never demonized or even dramatized. It’s such an accurate portrayal of living with a psychiatric disorder. But enough about that, because that is just a small aspect of this book and these characters. Khai and Esme are both beautifully developed and fleshed out characters. I especially love how Esme struggles when she comes to America were never glossed over.
“My heart works in a different way, but it’s yours.”
– Conclusion –
Pros- Fantastic representation, amazing characters, adorable relationship
Cons- I just need more from Helen Hoang. I need more books! They’re all too good!!
Overall- 5/5 stars.
The Bride Test is an absolutely perfect romance, with strong characters who have amazing chemistry, and great representation too!
I had such high expectations for this book, and I’m so glad it lived up to them! Have you read The Bride Test? What’d you think? What’s one book that surprisingly lived up to all of your hopes for it?