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.
So many thoughts! (And a minor spoiler — I’ll warn you.)
I’d heard a lot about The Kiss Quotient, but that book was available so I grabbed this one. It reminds me a lot of The Rosie Project — an Autistic man trying to navigate romantic relationships, except this book includes a LOT more sex (I honestly wasn’t prepared).
I really loved watching Khai’s character discover things about himself, and Esme was SO patient and kind. It did bug me that they kept running away from each other, but that fit their characters so it worked. There are three things that actually kind of bug me about the book though:
- The phone call with Khai’s brother and cousin. While it was really funny, no one ever explains why the cousin HAD to be on the phone call. I kept waiting for an explanation, but it didn’t come.
- It’s clear that Khai’s loaded and Esme doesn’t know it, but he never tells her. No one does. If it’s not going to be something that impacts their relationship, why bring it up.
- SPOILER! It’s called the Bride Test, but Esme never gets married!! It should be called the Fiance Test or something else — I kept expecting to see her wedding but it never happened.
If those three issues had has some resolution, I definitely would have given this another star. As is, I still enjoyed the story and will probably pick up another Helen Hoang book.
If you like the characters in this book, I highly recommend The Rosie Project. If you like the heat level of this book, you might enjoy Jasmine Guillory. Get your copy here!