THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A young Vietnamese woman seizes an opportunity to travel to America in hopes of finding a husband and a better life.

Esme Tran isn't ashamed that she supports her family by working as a maid in a Ho Chi Minh City hotel, but she secretly wishes for a different life for herself and her 5-year-old daughter. After a chance encounter, a wealthy American woman invites Esme to spend the summer in the U.S., hoping Esme might be a good match for her son. Meanwhile, back in California, Khai is horrified to find that his mother has taken this drastic step, but he agrees to host Esme if his mother promises never to interfere in his life again. Hoang (The Kiss Quotient, 2018) has a gift for developing layered, complex, and dynamic characters. As a man with autism, Khai has dealt with the traumas of his past by convincing himself he has a heart of stone and is literally unable to love. Esme wants a better life for herself but wonders if Khai could ever be interested in her if he knew the truth: She’s uneducated and has a young daughter she's hasn't told him about. Their misunderstandings and attempts to connect are full of grace, humor, and pathos. After an awkward sexual encounter, Khai asks his brother for sex advice in a painfully funny scene, and Esme’s feelings of anger and hurt are just as lovingly crafted. As Khai and Esme spend more time together, they find that despite their differences, they are a perfect match. Their individual character arcs—Khai learning to understand his own heart and Esme’s determination to pursue her goals and dreams—are just as pleasing and powerful as their evolution as a couple.

A stunning, superior romance.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-451-49082-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2019


IndieUNTIL THE LAST STAR FADES by Jacquelyn Middleton
by Jacquelyn Middleton
FictionTHE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory
by Jasmine Guillory
FictionWHY NOT TONIGHT by Susan Mallery
by Susan Mallery