Purple Hibiscus is set in Nigeria at a time when the country was on a verge of a military takeover. Just before this takeover, the young protagonist, Kambili is shown in her house. She has been brought up under the strict guidance of her father, who is very religious, and rigorous. Kambili's daily schedule comprises of strictly monitored prayer routines, along with a fixed study time.
However, things take an unexpected turn when war breaks out in the country, and Kambili's father is compelled to send his two children away from home. He sends Kambili, and her brother to live with their aunt, whose lifestyle is very different from theirs. Her aunt is a fun-loving person, and the atmosphere in her home brings about radical changes in Kambili's life, causing her to enjoy life and love. Kambili, in her father's house, never experienced these things in their true sense.
Purple Hibiscus focuses on the themes of freedom and life. The author has been successful in creating a story that is able to captivate the hearts, and minds of readers around the world. This debut work of the writer has been very successful in displaying her immense talent to the world.