I really enjoyed this novel, and it was incredibly well written.
The Prices, headed by their evangelical-Baptist head of household, go to Africa (specifically the Belgian Congo) in 1959 on a mission. The story spans through the 60s through the 90s.
This book is told from the perspectives of the women in the story - of Orleanna, Nathan's wife and his four daughters. Orleanna, tells of her struggles - of trying to balance life in the jungle, her daughters, the suffering and coming to terms with her husband and a life she never imagined she would lead. Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May are her daughters - all completely different, in motivations, temperaments and voices. They grow up through this novel, reacting and even sometimes learning from the life that's happening to them, through them, and because of them. I liked learning about the Congo through their eyes, their road their lives took and how they coped with different socio, political, and economic lives after all having shared the experience of living in an isolated village in the jungle.
At first I didn't feel like the story needed to extend beyond when the family leaves the village, but then I understood it to be the story of the women and their lives, and not the village, although the characters and events in the village were fascinating.
The characters don't feel overly simplified. The father, a bigoted, misogynistic evangelical Christian, feels as real as the more nuanced daughters that tell their story. I don't get the overwhelming "anti-American" "pro-Communist" "anti-Christian" sentiments that I see in other reviews. There was a good Missionary in the book, and not all Christians were bad. There were positive and negative points about a lot of things, nothing was cut and dry, except that the people of the Congo struggled and suffered. I took it as a lesson in how things can be, and how they can go wrong. The story does use the events of the Congo from the 60s through the 90s, and no one comes out unscathed. But history is messy and these characters make their way through it.