I loved this book. I could not put it down.
Part of why I loved The Bride Test was that both Khai and Esme are engaging, beautifully wrought characters from start to finish. Esme is tenacious and as tortured as she is determined. Khai is as charming and endearing as he is maddening in his lack of self-awareness. The characterization rolled itself into a gorgeous roller coaster of a love story that had me buckling up for the next big hill.
But that’s not what I love about the book.
No, the part that has be raving is how the story played the two characters perceptions off one another throughout.
Esme is navigating life in a new country. She is trying to create a new life for herself while juggling her budding relationship with Khai. While Khai’s self-limiting ideas always leave him feeling a step-behind. Esme imagines Khai working in a closet, because his house doesn’t reflect the way she imagines someone who works on the top floor of a high rise looks like, while Khai tells himself he’s addicted rather than in love.
But the ultimate, best part of the book is that Esme shows up in California, not knowing what Autism is. When Khai tells her he’s autistic, she listen to Khai in a way that no one but Quan does, because she has no misconceptions of what autistic is. She sees Khai first, which is what creates space for the two to fall in love.
A satisfying romance from start to finish!