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The Friday Gospels [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

Jenn Ashworth
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
RRP: £17.99
Price: £14.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Jan 2013

It's Friday in the Leeke household, but this is no ordinary Friday: the Leekes are Lancastrian Mormons and tonight they will be welcoming back their son Gary from his two-year mission in Utah. His mother, Pauline, wants his homecoming to be perfect. Unfortunately, no one else seems to be following the script.

In turn, the members of the family let us into their private thoughts and plans. There's teenage Jeannie, wrestling with a disastrous secret; her peculiar elder brother, Julian, who's plotting an exit according to his own warped logic; their father, Martin, dreaming of escape; and 'golden boy' Gary, who dreads his return. Then there's Pauline, who needs a doctor's help but won't ask for it.

As the day progresses, a meltdown looms. Except that nothing goes according to anyone's plan, and the outcome is as unexpected as it is shocking. Laced with black humour and giving an unusual insight into the Mormon way of life, this is a superbly orchestrated and arresting tale of human folly and foibles and what counts in times of crisis.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; Unabridged edition (17 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444707728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444707724
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Utterly, compulsively readable, [it] could be this award-winning young author's best novel yet. (The Sunday Times)

A serious, distinctive and eminently readable story of faith and family; about the demands of the world and the desires of the individual. (Independent on Sunday)

Ashworth's most confident work yet and one that strengthens her reputation as an author worth watching. (Sunday Telegraph)

A serious novel seriously engaged with big themes. It is also very funny. (Andrew Miller, author of PURE)

It is rare to find a novel that is so complex, so damn clever and yet at once readable... a truly exceptional novel. (Helen Walsh, author of BRASS)

Ashworth appears less interested in spreading a simple, comforting message than in uncovering the messy complexities of people, families and faith (Observer)

Book Description

The tale of an English Mormon family and the day the cracks in their lives yawn into chasms, as savagely funny as it is tragic.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-breaking, funny and technically brilliant 19 Jan 2013
By Carys
Format:Hardcover
This book is heart-breaking, funny and technically brilliant. I was fully immersed in the Leeke family's world and didn't want the novel to end. Having said that, the ending was beautifully handled; I loved the subtle way Ashworth employed sacrifice, atonement and redemption to bring the family together in the final scenes.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Enthralling 23 Jan 2013
By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The book description of Jenn Ashworth's third novel outlines its basic content. The Leeke family are dysfunctional to the point where they are unable to express or communicate themselves to one another or even with outside kindred. They remain distinct individuals with no one particularly dominant. The author demonstrates this in a balanced series of monologues taken by each of the five family members amplifying their imperfections and perspectives. The depth of the characters is portrayed with a skilled blend of dark humour and melancholy. The reader is sucked into the disordered and disturbed family who await missionary Gary's return from Utah, hopefully as the family saviour. He, as we find, has his own troubles to add to the others' hopes, secrets and dreams, heading them all toward dissolution.

This is an exceptional novel that gives a rare insight into a Mormon family and way of life. It is much more than that, however, presenting a narrative written with vivid, distinctive prose of extraordinary complexity. The gradual build up to the climactic reunion turns it into something of a shock with affecting poignancy. Deeply moving but also affectionately composed and very humourous. Jenn Ashworth has given us a memorable book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh or cry? 21 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A witty and poignant exploration of family life within Mormonism. I was hooked from page one.

As a lifelong member, I read with amusement the familiar scenes that are an everyday part of our culture. The author's attention to detail made me chuckle out loud; from the Schloer in plastic cups (a staple of every Mormon gathering in the UK), and the licked cupcake / sexual purity analogy, to the diligently laminated, clip-art embellished handouts (a virtually compulsory addition to a lesson taught by any self-respecting (female) Sunday School teacher - I know, I have created hundreds of the damn things!), the novel provides a humorous glimpse into the lived-in experience of members up and down the country.

This comical view of the religion's quirks is delicately balanced against some of its more troubling aspects. Fear, secrecy, suffering, hypocrisy, judgemental attitudes, and constant pressure of perfectionism are as ubiquitous amongst the 'one and only true church' as white shirts and ties. Never judgemental herself, Ashworth offers her observations and leaves us to form our own opinions.

The shifting narrative perspective is carried out with dexterity, providing a touching insight to the thoughts and feelings of each member of the Leeke family. This access to their inner-world makes it almost impossible not to like them all - despite their foibles and flaws.

A must-read for anyone one whose lives have been affected by the Mormon church. And a highly entertaining exploration of its idiosyncrasies for everyone else!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty & compelling. A must read. 21 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An absolute must read. I loved this book. It's witty and light-hearted, yet deep and compelling. I didn't want each chapter to end. I could totally relate to how some of the characters were feeling and although I didn't want it to end, it ended so perfectly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great insight to an under-reported community 21 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
wonderfully written insight into an much unreported community, the british arm of an an american religion

thought the various storylines were entertaining, characters interesting, and with some nice 'what happened' questions to ponder over post book

@booklovinggirl "WW" - your comments about the author being 'terribly clever' and not attending school seem rather random and bitter??? whats up??
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful story that won't let you off the hook 21 May 2013
By inkla
Format:Hardcover
What a storyline! What compelling insight into the minds of 5 different members of one family! The background culture, for most people unfamiliar, of a Mormon community, has a strange way of tricking the reader into believing to see reasons for behaviour patterns and quite gently destroying this idea again. It could have happened anywhere, or could it?
It's a gem of a novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good 1 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by a friend and I had not heard of this author before. I enjoyed it very much as it was quite unusual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mormons and Mishaps 2 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback
I read this book while sitting on a deckchair in the rain at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Over a couple of days I sat in the same deckchair, which seemed to wait on my appearance every morning and I carried on where I left off. After a while the rain dripping off my nose didn't even register, which is the great thing about reading an intriguing book. You are hooked and all is quiet as you devour the words and chapters.

The Friday Gospels by Jenn Ashworth is a riveting read from the start. It starts off by introducing you to all the main characters through their own chapters and filling you with knowledge of daily life within the Mormon Community. You gather all the different traits and mishaps of each family member as you continue to read and it doesn't take long to fit all the family-tree pieces together. However, saying that, I did not see the end coming at all. Reading this book, I was convinced this was Jenn Ashowrth's real-life story, but there is nothing to say that it is. The detail and research that has gone into the completion of this tale as accurately as possible is astounding.

I was prepared for Gary to throw the towel in, I wanted his mum to go and see about her ailments before she was no longer with us and Jenny needed her Mr Darcy to appear and whisk her off to live happily ever after somewhere else. I began to care what their future held and it wasn't looking good for some of them.

This book does not have a 'big-bow' ending, it's a story of an unconventional family and the blood bond that holds them together but also drives them apart. I'm sure every reader will relate to each and every one of the slightly odd family members as they find their way in their somewhat restricted world.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars but a good read.
Unusual, disturbing at times, but a good read.
Published 1 month ago by A. Forrest
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
This novel takes time to read, and not but because it is a difficult read, far from it, Ashworth takes the reader by the hand, leading us beautifully and skilfully through the the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Julie-Ann Corrigan
5.0 out of 5 stars bookworm
The book was in very good condition and arrived within the alotted time. I found the book very strange as it was written from the perspective of individuals separately in each... Read more
Published 6 months ago by bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Mormons in Lancashire
Having read this myself, recommended this to the reading group. I thought it might have been a Marmite book (love it or hate it) but all in group enjoyed. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Laura Waterhouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Interesting insight into world of the Mormons. Getting a little bit fed up now with so many books being written from several peoples perspective as this one is, but enjoyed it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by S Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, engaging and I loved it!
As usual Jenn Ashworth delivers wonderful, rounded characters who you just want to know more about as you read every word. The plot is engaging and there is so much suspense. Read more
Published 7 months ago by A. Yardimci
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story, well told
Jenn Ashworth is a good writer with an interesting story to tell. The novel gives a fascinating insight into life within the mormon church and the pros and cons of... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Anne Liddon
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I loved Jenn Ashworth's other novels so I was really looking forward to reading this one. It didn't disappoint. Another real page-turner. Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy Reading for Holiday
I saw a tv interview with Jenn and liked the sound of this story line. It wasn't quite what I expected but it was good enough to have me finish it in double quick time.
Published 11 months ago by cazzymc
4.0 out of 5 stars What the Mormon faith has done to and for the Leeke family
This novel is about the Leeke family who belong to the Mormon community in the Lancashire town of Chorley, and whose members - Martin, the father; Pauline, the mother; Julian,... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ralph Blumenau
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