Release date: May 7, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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.
Like many of you I fell in love with the authors debut, The KISS Quotient last year and was really looking forward to her sophomore novel. I’m so pleased to say that I liked this one even more than TKQ and cannot even wait to see what she comes up with next! Something I wanna make clear really quick is that I’ve seen this being called a sequel to TKQ and it’s not, it’s more of a companion novel at the most. There are small appearances from some characters in that book but you definitely don’t have to read TKQ in order to enjoy this one.
From the prologue alone I was invested in Khai, he thinks he is incapable of true feelings, like love, because of a traumatic event in his past and his life as someone on the spectrum. I love that the author had another main character with ASD but showed a totally different side to it which is completely accurate. Just because you know one person on the spectrum means just that. You know one person on the spectrum, hence it being called a spectrum. Anyway, before I go off on an unnecessary tangent, I just really liked that she went in a new direction with this one. Esme also wiggled into my heart early on, she was such an interesting character, there were so many layers to her personality and I loved her unique little quirks, she had so much spunk and heart.
So as much as I love romance I’m a bit of a prude when it comes to reading super steamy scenes. TKQ made me blush even though I loved it and I was happy that this one wasn’t nearly as racy. Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely some heat here and it’s not a totally clean book, it was just toned down here and I liked that! This was more sweet and tender with just a dash of spice.
Interspersed between the burgeoning romance between Esme and Khai was this strong sense of family and culture that was just fascinating to me. Esme is from Vietnam and so is Khai’s family and the representation of their culture was so authentic. The author herself is Vietnamese and autistic so she is writing what she knows, and with heart and it shows. It deeply shows and was just a beautiful story of family, adversity and finding love when it’s not an easy road. Highly recommended by me for a different type of romance that will give you all the feels.
The Bride Test in three words: Tender, Diverse and Authentic.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.