Book Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
I have recently read The Bride Test by Helen Hoang and wanted to share my thoughts on it.
This is a sweet and fun story that is told with a lot of heart, and I adored the two main characters (for different reasons that I will elaborate on later in the review).
Khai Diep is the main male character. He is 26 years old, lives in California, is a successful businessman and is autistic.
Khai thinks that he is defective, and so he tries to avoid situations that he is uncomfortable in. He doesn't cope well with big emotions like sadness, grief, and love.
His family (including his brother Quan, and his mother), are supportive and understand that Khai processes emotions differently than others.
But when he adamantly avoids relationships, his mother decides to take matters into her own hands and heads to Vietnam with the hopes of finding a bride for Khai.
Esme Tran is a young woman living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City with her mother, grandmother, and young daughter. She is a cleaner in a hotel and makes an hour long journey on foot twice a day to get to and from her job.
She is of mixed-race, and doesn't know much about her father - only that he was from America, and had green eyes that Esme inherited.
After a chance meeting when Khai's mum arrives at the hotel where Esme works, Esme is offered the opportunity to go to America to meet Khai, and spend the summer living with him.
Esme knows that this could be the chance that her family needs in order to live a better life, so she agrees to go to California. She also hopes that while sh is in the USA, she can uncover some more information on her father.
But things don't go to plan after she meets Khai and discovers that he will do whatever it takes to keep himself from falling in love.
Whilst she is instantly attracted to Khai, Esme knows that it certainly won't be easy to win his heart.
But she won't give up easily!
Esme is such a great character; she is determined to provide a good life for her family, especially her young daughter. (I did find it a bit odd that she didn't communicate much with her daughter when she went to the USA; and whilst I know the story focused more on the relationship between Esme and Khai, I felt that the story would've benefited from some more contact between Esme and her family back home).
Esme is headstrong and hard-working. Even when she arrives in California, she works as a waitress in Khai's mum's restaurant and enrols in night school.
She is passionate and kind, and empathetic towards Khai, refusing to give up on him even when he chooses to give up on himself.
Khai is also a character I adored. His idiosyncrasies weren't stereotypical, they just added to his personality.
I felt for him as he struggled with expressing his emotions, particularly love, and was hard on himself in many instances throughout the novel.
In conclusion, this is a really sweet story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The Bride Test is available now through Allen & Unwin Australia, RRP $29.99
For further info on this title, head here