The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
ARC from the publisher
| Review |
The Bride Test is Helen Hoang’s follow up to last years instant hit, The Kiss Quotient. And I can’t help but wonder – is there a blogger out there who didn’t have this on their ‘Most Anticipated’ list for 2019? I know it was on mine! And for that reason…it makes this review so hard to write. There were parts of this book that I loved even more than its predecessor. The interactions between Khai and Quan were pure gold, and when you added Michael to the mix (Michael – sigh,) they were even more fun! I love the premise of this story – Khai’s mother is very aware of his lack of game with the ladies, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting him to get married. So she takes matters into her own hands and goes to Vietnam to find him a bride. Unfortunately, this is where the fun stops for me.
This was a heroine I was never going to get on board with. Esmeralda comes to the United States with very little in the way of possessions, but she has a very big secret. I won’t spoil it, but for this to work and for me to be OK with it as a reader, I needed to feel like this secret was an essential part of the book. That if this was not the case, this book just wouldn’t work. I never felt that way. But I will tell you that aside from that, I loved this heroine and think this story would have been so much better without her secret. She was a hard worker and though she knew nothing about Autism, Khai’s abruptness and personality traits were something she accepted as part of who he was. It was clear she adored her family and would do anything for them, and she was desperate to help them. As for Khai, I loved his character. The way he saw himself broke my heart, and it killed me that he kept selling himself so short. His character arc and emotional turmoil were my favorite things about this story. The fact that he was unable to recognize that the things he did for people was because he loved them nearly broke me. The author painted such a vivid picture of this character, and I adored him.
Aside from Quan and his mom, the rest of Khai’s family played a big role in this story, and I loved their times together. Their interactions were so authentic and fun, and they just made this story even better.
As for the end of this story…I felt like I was missing something. I didn’t care for the way it all played out; I feel like it was an attempt at being ‘feminist’ because…what? The princess saves herself in this one? Except she didn’t, because it was another man who did that. It felt contrived and half-hearted, and I was left so disappointed. I was also sad to see that (highlight for spoiler) four years had passed in the epilogue and Esmeralda and Khai still weren’t married. Why? I just don’t get it. I understand why they didn’t get married at the end scene in the book because that would have been a rush when there was a choice, but why let four years pass when you were convinced you were ready before?
Overall, I think there were some amazing elements to The Bride Test, and even with my issues, I would still recommend it. While I was left feeling disappointed, I will be continuing with this series; this just feels like a blip in the road. Khai is someone I won’t soon forget. His character was not only the highlight of this book, but one of the best I’ve read this year.
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