Mini Review: A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago

Rating: 2/5

What It’s About:

When Frances Howard, unhappy wife of the Earl of Essex, meets the talented Anne Turner, the two strike up an unlikely, yet powerful, friendship. Frances makes Anne her confidante, sweeping her into a glamorous and extravagant world, riven with bitter rivalry. As the women grow closer, each hopes to change her circumstances. Frances is trapped in a miserable marriage while loving another, and newly widowed Anne struggles to keep herself and her six children alive as she waits for a promised proposal. A desperate plan to change their fortunes is hatched–but navigating the Jacobean court is a dangerous game and one misstep could cost them everything.


The Review

A Net For Small Fishes was unfortunately a disappointing read. I borrowed it on an impulse from my public library. The synopsis sounded really interesting but the execution of the story was underwhelming. Since I don’t have alot to say about this book, I am going to just give a short bullet point list of what I liked and didn’t like.

What I liked:

  • how the book explored the experiences of wives, widows, and lovers in different social classes
  • Anne Turner’s character – there were many elements that made her story interesting with many memorable moments
  • the inclusion of fashion trends and design

What I didn’t like:

  • the pacing of the story was too slow
  • the writing style – too many similes and metaphors to describe things
  • I felt bored a majority of the time while reading
Final Thoughts

There were a few redeeming qualities of A Net for Small Fishes that I appreciated. I was inspired to learn a little bit more about England during the Jacobean era (1603-1625). It was fun to compare and contrast it to another book that I read recently, The Hour of the Witch, which had many similar themes but was in a different setting (Puritan Boston, Massachusetts in mid 1600’s). I just wish the writing style and pacing of the story had been better. It was a major deal breaker.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.


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