Do you love Jane Austen things? But also love Halloween? Is this you?
Are you a Catherine Morland who wishes there were Jane Austen/Northanger Abbey/Halloween products? Well don’t worry, I’ve got you! Jane Austen Runs My Life and Madsen Creations have collaborated together on five more designs that are sure to make your little Catherine Morland heart melt!
Madsen Creations makes custom clothes and other custom items. I have mentioned her in the past as I have won a tunic and capelet from her, was given some reusable tea bags to review (and bought some) and she made my Regency gown. We also collaborated on three Jane Austen shirts, one of which is below.
I told her how I had searched for some cute, spooky, Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen items and could never find any. After I lamented for a while, she told me-let’s make some. So we did!
The first item is a Jane Austen Sugar Skull Mug. I had made this image a few years ago as part of my dress Jane up for Halloween posts. Here is the original image:
And here is the product! Isn’t it just spooktacular?
We also made a Northanger Abbey Sweater and Shirt!
We also made up a sweater celebrating the three gs: ghosts, ghouls, and gothic fiction.
And finally this adorable, reversible throw pillow.
All are available on @madsencreations website, click on this link to shop these products and other spooky items.
So first of all, sorry for the long title. I usually try to make them shorter than that but decided to not only share my experience on being on the podcast, but to review an episode as well.
So a few weeks ago I was sent a message by Allie Jennings asking if I wanted to be a part of their podcast, being a guest for their Northanger Abbey (2007) episode. At first I wasn’t sure it was real, as I have recently been receiving a lot of scammy messages from sites asking me to be a rep or to collaborate with them, but of course nothing comes to fruition or they want me to pay for things.
But then I took a look over their profile and decided to message them back. We set up a time and I was extremely excited to be a guest on their podcast.
—Being a Guest on the Podcast—
We set up a time so that we could record and I was looking forward to being a part, but I was also a bit nervous. What if I freeze up, lose my train of thought, or repeat myself? All I could think of was game shows when they have people on and they are forever known as the person who gave the world’s dumbest answer.
But all my fears disappeared once we started talking. Allie and Mia immediately made me feel comfortable and I even forgot we were being recorded. I had such a great time discussing Jane Austen, rom-coms, JJ Feild, and Northanger Abbey with them. Mia and Allie are not only fun, charming, and easy to talk to; but extremely talented and very professional. The whole experience felt like being with friends and discussing your favorite things.
Their format is very fun and inviting as well. First they pick a rom-com character they are channeling, share a synopsis of the film they are reviewing, give background trivia on the film, discuss the film and the characters, and end it with a reality check and a trope countdown. It’s a lot of fun and well structured, but also leaves room to let the conversation flow naturally.
We had a few technical difficulties, I blame myself (electronics always go wrong around me.) But whoever did the editing did an amazing job, you couldn’t even tell we had any issues.
I listened to the podcast and was happy that only a couple of times I ran on a bit (when I was losing my train of thought), and I did repeat myself a few times, but on the whole I did a lot better than I thought I would. All together it was a wonderful experience and I loved every moment of it.
If you are interested in listening you can look them up on their podcast or you can click on the link here.
—Review of Podcast Episode, Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001) featuring Nick Casalini and Muriel Montgomery—
I had listened to their Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Persuasion (1996), both of which I enjoyed, and I encourage you to check out. But instead of reviewing those I decided to go down a different path. During the podcast we were talking about Northanger Abbey and the subject came up that I’ve slowly been introducing my niece to Jane Austen through films. We started with Sense and Sensibility (1995) and then this year watched Northanger Abbey (2007). I’m trying to decide what to do for next year when the ladies suggested that we watch Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Ooof, I don’t like that film or the book. I don’t hate it, it is more like I just don’t get it. I feel like Tom Hanks’ character in Big when he’s at the toy demo.
My friend loved it and we had watched it together, but I was not into it and I still don’t understand why people are. But after hearing Mia and Allie share how much they like it, I decided to give their episode a listen. This podcast feature guest stars Nick Casalini and Muriel Montgomery from Hella in Your Thirties.
So first of all I was laughing so much listening to this. Nick Casalini was so funny as a lot of things he said, went with my thoughts on why I don’t like the film. The only thing I do not agree with is his opinion that Colin Firth is not attractive.
All I wanted to do was forcefully take Nick in a barouche and explain to him why he is an amazing actor and a truly handsome man. Just kidding! (Or am I? LOL of course I am I don’t have a barouche.)
One of the best things I like about this podcast is that unlike some other film reviews where you feel they have a certain view or thought about the film that the review is headed toward, in this it is very free flowing and allows for a difference of opinion and for all views to be considered. I really enjoy that as it feels so often that people want your thoughts to follow theirs, I like when there is that allowance of all views.
Both Allie and Mia agreed that Bridget Jones, while a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, is not a good version of it, and that it would be better to separate it from being a Jane Austen adaption. This did improve my thoughts on the film, as while I still am not a fan of the film, after listening to their thoughts on the movie I better understand why people like it.
Bridget Jones is a regular person trying to do better, but as hard as she tries, she usually ends up in more of a mess. I have to say I do like that Bridget is an ordinary woman. She typically is dressed in clothes that one would buy off the rack and she isn’t always picture perfect. I really like the scene when she tried to be like Grace Kelly in the convertible but ends up with her hair in a mess, because that is sooo relatable. One trope I find super annoying is when you have this gorgeous woman who is always dressed perfectly with clothing and hair but she’s “unattractive.” I liked in this that Renee is her usual pretty self but she also has an attainable style, she doesn’t always look perfect and stylish and she doesn’t look as if she spent hours on her hair and makeup when the film stated she didn’t.
It was also nice to hear how this film impacted Mia and Allie; along with listening to their love of something they enjoyed from their childhood. And I loved Nick’s comments at the more absurd scenes, it was hilarious.
One thing I was sad about was that they didn’t talk about the only scene I love from the film, the cooking of the blue soup for the dinner party. That is the only scene I would be willing to watch over and over.
But whether you enjoy the film they talk about or not, you are going to enjoy their podcast. These ladies are so much fun!
So the last chapter of Desire and Decorum, was really bothering me. In it it you, the main character, discovers that you were not illegitimate as your parents were married, but that they were annulled before you were born. Your father still wants to write you into the will but I’m questioning the whole legality of it all.
So I decided it was time to do some research and see if I could find some answers.
Before the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857 divorces had to go through the Church and Parliament. The church would only give legal separation, while if you wanted a real divorce in order to remarry you would need to go through Parliament as well. Parliament divorces were very, very expensive and you had to take legal action in a three courts: ecclesiastical (church), common-law court, and finally Parliament.
No amount of money could give you a quiet divorce, as any divorce was a huge scandal as newspapers would play it up. And it would be a stain on both spouses’ characters, although men would get over it must faster (think of Maria Bertram-Rushworth in Mansfield Park).
So we know divorce was difficult, but what about an annulment? I had to keep digging.
The church occasionally did some annulments in certain cases. The annulments were only granted if the marriage wasn’t consummated (they didn’t sleep together), a man married his dead wife’s sister (it was seen as too close to a relative although marrying your first cousin was alright 🤷🏻♀️ ), or if it turned out one of the couple had committed bigamy.
So none of those reasons would apply here for the game as the character’s mother was pregnant (obviously they consummated), no previous marriage had taken place to invoke a “too close relationship”, and there was no bigamy. Of course the grandpa could have said that she was sleeping around, but that wouldn’t grant his son an annulment he would have had to be granted a divorce and the game was specific to annulment. It was clear, more digging must be done.
Annulment by not consummating the relationship was really hard to prove. More often then not either the husband or wife had to be examined and declared impotent. This rarely happened as it had to be proven by a medical examination, which as I’m sure as you can imagine, very few people would succumb to having.
Annulments could also be granted if there was an error in name on the marriage certificate, they were too young and married without parental consent (they would have to go to Gretna Greene to do that), or if they were deceived as to who they were marrying. All of which don’t apply here.
Insanity was another route for annulment but it was very tricky to prove (and still is today) as one would have to prove that the person was insane at the time of the marriage. For instance look at the case of Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, as he didn’t suspect she was crazy in the beginning (her family hid it well) he can never get a divorce or annulment and instead has to live with a crazy woman who is constantly trying to kill him. Also most families would fight this route as being named insane would taint an entire family and family line as well.
If a woman’s marriage was annulled, she was reduced from the status of wife to concubine, and any children the couple had were declared illegitimate. So that tracks right in the game, as my character is still illegitimate. But could an illegitimate inherit? And I still haven’t figured out how the grandfather had them annulled.
So I did some more digging and discovered that if a couple was annulled the woman would have a ruined reputation and:
“Also, any children of an annulled marriage become bastards (who cannot inherit or be declared legitimate at the whim of the peer) and likewise outcasts of society.”
So it looks like that plot point in the last chapter is impossible. The MC/Catherine would never be able to inherit, even with my father writing me into the will. The only way I could would be if I was to prove that the annulment never legally took place and my stepmother’s marriage is invalid.
This does kind of kill the spirit of the game for me as it only took me a day to research this, which any of their staff could have easily done. But maybe there are more twists coming, I guess I’ll just have to keep playing to find out.
So it has been almost a year since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. Originally I was just playing the game but as I could do that faster than I could review, I ended up deciding to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 12 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this video game.
Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses, but at times you get to make a choice as to what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like in this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.
It’s really fun as you have the power to decide what path the story takes.
This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Edgewater, something you discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepts you and wants to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.
You have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother, Mr. Marcastle, who has a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.
And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you go to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebecca–esque backstory and he gifts you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a horrible jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, and have just learned that your father has fallen ill, found out the truth about Mr. Sinclaire’s wife and the Duke, and are trying to reach your father in time before his last breath.
Whew! That’s a lot. Now onto the next chapter!
So this chapter’s title In Sickness and In Health, and reading thatjust reaffirmed for me thah my father did going to die.
So I had an option earlier in the game to buy a horse and I did. Sometimes these purchases turn out to be a waste as then they never resurface in the game, but I’m glad I did as I am using her to race to my dad. It did turn out to be a useful purchase.
So Mr. Harper and I race to my father’s home as quickly as we can. There is an option for you to stop and rest with Mr. Harper and hear him tell a story-and if Mr. Harper is the romantic route you want to take, if you do so it will bring you closer together. But as for me, not only did I not want to wait I also was low on diamonds, and didn’t want to spend what little I had in case something came up in later on in the chapter. The previous chapter turned out to be really expensive.
So I make it to the house and who should stand in my way? My wicked stepmother.
She won’t let me see my dying father and claims that she will find a way to keep me from my inheritance, as she believes she should have it over me. From a historical side I do feel bad for her as women had very little rights but in this game she is a horrible witch so I don’t feel bad if she will loses everything.
While tbe Countess may think she has outwitted me, I outmaneuver her and go upstairs where I run into the Bishop Monroe, a new character who allows me to visit with my father. I go to my father and there I discover the big twist. I am not illegitimate, but my father and mother were married!
Never mind, it turns out I am illegitimate as my mother and father were forced into an annulment just before I was born.
Wait, what? That doesn’t sound right to me but let’s see how the game plays out and then I’ll do the research later.
So it turns out that my grandfather didn’t want my parents together and forced the annulment. My father shared that he wrote letters to my mother and I let him know that I saw them as it turned out she saved them and I had the opportunity to read them in the previous chapter (which I did).
Only a few people knew about the marriage, but I’m thinking there must be some documentation that will help strengthen my claim.
My father tells me he wanted to tell me more but thought it would be too confusing and kept it to himself. He wants to share his story with me and you have the option to pay to play as him and find out the truth. I declined as I had no money and didn’t want to spend anymore on this game.
My father warns me that my claim will be weak without a strong man to back me. He wants me to get with the Duke but after the last chapter, NO WAY!
I do share that I am interested in someone, and let him know that someone is Mr. Sinclair.
I can’t resist, Mr. Sinclaire is just too much like a mix between Mr. Darcy and Maxim de Winter from Rebecca. He’s unlocked the Laurence Olivier achievement.
My father approves as he has always been close to the Sinclaires. He gives me my mother’s ring and a copy of his Will so that it can strengthen my claim.
My father asks me to share my childhood stories with him and I do to comfort him and relieve his guilt. I stay by his side until his last breath.
I know that this isn’t real, but it seriously touched my heart when I read that scene. Poor Earl of Edgewater.
That’s the sad end of this chapter, in the next one we will have to deal with my father’s funeral. I’m sure there will be plenty of intrigue and conflict.
So we are almost done with going over my Jane Austen 29th Birthday Party planning.
This is the very last post as we have reviewed everything there is to review, except the music.
So I saved this for last as this was the last thing I worried about in my party planning. I have a prime membership and with that comes free access to Amazon Music and Amazon Music has almost all the Austen soundtracks for free.
You can listen to my playlist by clicking here or look them up from the list below.
Pride and Prejudice (1995) Theme
Emma (1996) AKA The Gwyneth Paltrow Version Theme
“Frank Churchill Arrives” from Emma (1996) AKA The Gwyneth Paltrow Version
“Mr. Knightley Returns” from Emma (1996) AKA The Gwyneth Paltrow Version Theme
“Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
“Meryton Town Hall” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
“Liz on Top of the World” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
“Georgiana” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
“Your Hands Are Cold” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
“Mrs. Darcy” from Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Mansfield Park (2007) Theme
Northanger Abbey (2007) Theme
Persuasion (2007) Theme
Sense and Sensibility (2008) Theme
“Austenland” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
“Austenland Symphony I” from Austenland (2013)
“L.O.V.E. D.A.R.C.Y.” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
“Only You” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
“What Up” By Emmy the Great from Austenland (2013)
Trio for Flute, Piano, and Cello No. 31 in G Major
I just played it on repeat throughout the whole party.
That’s the final piece of the party planning, if you missed any of the previous posts just click on one of the links below: