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- A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago - ๐Ÿ‘‘

Published : 21st January 2021

Publisher : Bloomsbury

Format : Kindle, Paperback, Hardback

Genre : Historical Fiction

Review #8/2021

{ ๐š๐: ๐ฉ๐ซ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐๐ฎ๐œ๐ญ / ๐ ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐š๐ซ๐œ }

* All words highlighted in Grey are affiliate links to either purchase from a range of sellers or links to the authors sites. Where ever possible I will try and provide different versions of the book on all purchase sites.


Frances Howard has beauty and a powerful family - and is the most unhappy creature in the world.

Anne Turner has wit and talent - but no stage on which to display them. Little stands between her and the abyss of destitution.

When these two very different women meet in the strangest of circumstances, a powerful friendship is sparked. Frankie sweeps Anne into a world of splendour that exceeds all she imagined: a Court whose foreign king is a stranger to his own subjects; where ancient families fight for power, and where the sovereign's favourite may rise and rise - so long as he remains in favour.

With the marriage of their talents, Anne and Frankie enter this extravagant, savage hunting ground, seeking a little happiness for themselves. But as they gain notice, they also gain enemies; what began as a search for love and safety leads to desperate acts that could cost them everything..

Through out the story the author creates such detail and description of the Jacobean times that are the backdrop to this fantastic story that you can picture with ease everything you are reading as you read it. You are reading the story of The Overbury Scandal but it is almost entirely told from Anneโ€™s perspective, allowing you two totally different views of 1600โ€˜a life style.


Thank you @Bloomsbury @LucyJago for this beautiful and unputdownable advanced copy

My Review

"Beneath the dread I feel a core of heat: it is joy at the actions we took, the chaos we created, the possibilities we saw, the lives we led; it is love.
How stupid we are; not just us women, but all people. We think we act with all nobility when in truth we run in circles too low to the ground to see which path leads us to Heaven and which to Hell."

Firstly let me start by saying this was a truly amazing and epic read! So much so that it is my Book Of The Month pick for January and currently my Book of The Year choice. Yes its that good!!!

Based on the true scandal of the Overbury poisoning that rocked the court of James I the story starts in 1609 with Anne Turner, wife of Dr Turner and self made fashionista has been called upon to visit the Countess of Essex, Frances Howard who is the daughter to an Earl and one of the most important families within the Kings court to get up, dressed and return to court life after spending far to long complaining and upset in her chambers over her recent marriage to the Earl of Essex.

After direct instructions the staff and Countess eventually leave and begrudgingly the two women begin the dance of preparing to get ready for the world outside. Frances loves Anne's direct way of talking and finds comfort in her kindness. She calls upon Anne regularly and despite there different status's the pair become fast friends that are very much like a seventeenth century Thelma and Louise.

Frances can not settle within the arranged marriage, her husband is a religious, violent and cruel man who thinks so lowly of women that his disgust makes him impotent. Frances begs her family for a separation but she is told to just make her husband happy and to give him a baby, not aware of the earls inability to do so.

The women are bonded even further by Francis's despair and the pair secretly seek out the help of a medium to try and get Frances out of the marriage, at the same time Frances has caught the eye of the Kings favourite, Robert Carr and the pair eventually start to dangerously flirt with each other.

Feeling that there is no other choice and by taking things into their own hands Frances and Anne both begin down a path that could either give them both freedom to live the rest of their lives completely happy or be their total downfall, taking everyone down with them but the love they have for each other and the determination and strength that they both possess to control their own lives and not be told what they can or cant do by men constantly puts them both in jeopardy.

'This be a net for small fishes, that the great ones swim away'

Why I Loved It

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿ’ป I adored the characters in this story. Frances and Anne totally stole my heart and I was unable to put this down once I had began.

Despite the fact that one was a Countess and the other a mistress, the two see past their ranks and form the strongest bond. Even when Anne's situation changes and she ends up having to live beneath her status due to money, Frances is always there, always ready to help, never seeing her friends situation only her love. Neither women give up on each other and their friendship came across so strongly on the page that on the last chapter I had to put down the book and breath because my eyes were full of tears and my throat was aching, needed the release of a good cry.

You need to read this book! I read it a while ago, have been struggling to complete my review ever since as I wanted to do it justice and still, I can not get the story out of my mind.

Lucy Jago is now one of my most favourite authors.




Buy from

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Meet the author

Olga Grushin is the author of four novels. Her first novel, The Dream Life of Sukhanov (2006), won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and earned her a place on Granta's once-a-decade Best Young American Novelists list. Her books have appeared on The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of the Year and The Washington Post's Ten Best Books of the Year lists. She has published short stories and nonfiction in The New York Times, Partisan Review, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and elsewhere.

Grushin was born in Moscow, spent her childhood in Prague, and moved to the United States at the age of eighteen, becoming the first Russian citizen to receive an American college degree. She writes in English, and her work has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives outside Washington, DC, with her two children.


Connect with Lucy



Books by this author

The Northern Lights

The Covens Daughter

The Travels Of Brother Felix

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I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?

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