The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The basics

Title: The Bride Test


Series: The Kiss Quotient #2

- The Kiss Quotient (2018)
- The Bride Test (2019)
- The Heart Principle (2021)

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Goodreads Summary:

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.

If you need help remembering what happened in The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, check out our recap below for a full plot summary.

What happened in The Bride Test?

  • Khai attends the funeral of his cousin Adam and the family think he’s weird because he’s not crying. This is because Khai is on the autism spectrum and he doesn’t process his feelings the same way they do. But of course they think there’s something wrong with him…
  • My is a cleaner at a hotel. Khai’s mother flies over to Vietnam to look for a bride for Khai, because he’s not been looking for a wife. Khai’s mother offers My the position. She intends to fly My over for the summer and have her impress Khai, and if it doesn’t work out My can just go home with $20k.
  • My accepts, but she’s sad because she has to leave her daughter behind.
  • My adopts the name Esme, and her daughter decides to call herself Jade.
  • Khai picks Esme up from the airport. Esme speaks Vietnamese and understands a little English, and Khai speaks English and only understands Vietnamese. They both think the other is a little weird, although Khai does find Esme hot. Esme thinks Khai is probably an assassin.
  • Esme and Khai get to know each other a bit. Esme starts rearranging the house and Khai isn’t comfortable with that.
  • They attend a wedding together and Khai brings up Adam, which upsets the bride. He goes off to read until it’s time to leave.
  • Esme meets Quan, Khai’s brother, and they get along great. Khai is a little jealous.
  • Khai takes Esme to Berkeley to see if they can find her father. They ask about a bunch of Phils but no one is very helpful.
  • At another wedding, Esme and Khai kiss. They go home and have sex, and then afterwards Khai goes to shower. Esme is upset by this and Khai doesn’t understand why. They don’t speak for a day or so.
  • Khai asks Quan for some advice, and Michael from The Kiss Quotient gets involved too because he knows stuff about women.
  • Khai apologises and he and Esme make up.
  • Esme starts taking classes in English and accounting.
  • Khai’s mother asks Esme and Khai to make a decision on whether they’re going to get married.
  • Michael and Stella get married in a small wedding ceremony. Afterwards, Esme asks Khai if he loves her and he says he doesn’t but also says they should get married so Esme can get her green card. Esme goes to sleep in a motel that night.
  • Khai doesn’t understand why Esme is so upset and Quan is a bit baffled and exasperated.
  • Esme moves out of Khai’s house and into her own apartment. She continues taking classes and working at the restaurant.
  • They kiss again but once again Khai is unable to say he loves Esme.
  • Esme speaks to the last Phil on the list and he says he’s never been to Vietnam but he did know someone called Gleaves who did.
  • Quan and Esme talk, and Quan agrees to marry Esme for the green card unless Khai shows up and objects to the wedding.

How did The Bride Test end?

  • On the day of the wedding, Khai gets his act together and realises that he is capable of love. He rides Adam’s motorbike to the wedding ceremony.
  • Esme and Quan are about to get married. Esme’s father, Gleaves, arrives and says he looked for Esme’s mother everywhere but couldn’t find her.
  • Khai arrives at the wedding and tells Esme he loves her (in Vietnamese!!). She finally tells him about Jade, her daughter, and it’s lovely. They get back together.
  • In the epilogue, Esme (now using her name My) graduates from Stanford and she and Khai plan to get married.

That was our recap of what happened in The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. Check out our recap list for more plot summaries, and if you can’t find what you need you can request a recap here!

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