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Reviewed by Stephanie Chapman for Readers' Favorite
Subtle Asian Slave by Xaviera Lee features Ella seeking approval from her critical mother. Ella feels overwhelmed while planning her wedding, working on a project without help from her coworker, and frustrated with her mother for always putting her down. She knows her family feels that marriage and having male children is important, but her relationship seems rocky. One afternoon, everything nosedives when Ella gets distracted and deletes all her research data. Claire and Lauren threw her a bachelorette party. They showed Ella a male dating profile on Lauren’s phone app, which catches her attention because he expresses only a desire to satisfy sexual desires. When Ryan doesn’t show up for her wedding, Ella finds she isn’t heartbroken. Pressured to find a husband by her mother, Ella picks up her phone.
I can empathize with the depiction of Ella’s inner turmoil. The way her mother constantly demeaned her for not wanting to follow tradition was demoralizing. The entire family appeared to be stuck in Asia despite living in the United States. I admire Ella’s determination to improve her life by pursuing her doctorate. When she saw Damien on the dating profile, I think she was trying to rebel against her family. I despised Alisha. Ella’s hard work was just fine with her until the loss of the data. I disagreed with the way Damien avoided establishing the boundaries of their romance. Without defining the relationship, I think there was no bond. The timeline was easy to follow, and Ella’s emotions reveal her personality. With realistic emotions and the courage to push yourself beyond your comfort zone, Subtle Asian Slave by Xaviera Lee is the ideal romance novel to encourage readers to find happiness within themselves.