Disney Books is back with an interesting origin story! Hello, Cruel Heart is the origin story of Cruella De Vil and covers her life before she embraced puppy stealing and screaming at Horace and Jasper. Read on for a full review of Hello, Cruel Heart and new details of Cruella, the new film releasing later in 2021!
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ABOUT HELLO, CRUEL HEART
An electric new story of teenage Cruella de Vil in an original novel inspired by the upcoming Walt Disney Studios Live Action Film, Cruella.
Swinging London, Summer 1967. Sixteen-year-old Estella, gifted with talent, ingenuity, and ambition, dreams of becoming a renowned fashion designer. But life seems intent on making sure her dreams never come true. Having arrived in London as a young girl, Estella now runs wild through the city streets with Jasper and Horace, amateur thieves who double as Estella’s makeshift family and partners-in-(petty)-crime. How can Estella dedicate herself to joining the ranks of the London design elite when she’s sewing endless costumes and disguises for the trio’s heists?
When a chance encounter with Magda and Richard Moresby-Plum, two young scions of high society, vaults Estella into the world of the rich and famous, she begins to wonder whether she might be destined for more after all. Suddenly, Estella’s days are filled with glamorous parties, exclusive eateries, flirtations with an up-and-coming rock star, and, of course, the most cutting-edge fashions money can buy. But what is the true cost of keeping up with the fast crowd―and is it a price Estella is willing to pay?
HELLO, CRUEL HEART REVIEW
Hello, Cruel Heart is an origin story of Cruella De Vil through the eyes of her alter ego Estella. Set in London in the 1960’s, Estella suffers a traumatic experience as a twelve year old, seeing her mother pass away. She ends up in a London park with her dog where she meets thieves Horace and Jasper. The three form a small family and become master pickpockets, stealing from tourists to survive.
By the age of 17, Estella becomes talented seamstress and while in a Liberty of London (attempting to steal fabric) she meets Magda and Richard Moresby-Plum socialites who take Estella under their wing. Here’s where Estella’s life takes a sharp turn. She gets taken by the lives of the rich, moving into Magda’s home and sewing extravagant outfits for Magda’s friends. Estella turns her back on Jasper and Horace and becomes enamored with Magda’s life, even meeting and falling in love with Peter a lead singer in a band.
All good things must come to an end and Estella realizes just how Magda and her friends are using her. A humiliating experience leads to the full reveal of Cruella, a woman so hurt and traumatized she hurts people back to protect herself.
I had no idea what to expect when I opened this book and because I’m not a huge fan of “101 Dalmatians”. I was curious as to how Maureen could craft a story that makes sense and conveys just how Cruella becomes hateful enough to want to steal some puppies. While I don’t think that Hello, Cruel Heart provides all the insight I do think it’s entertaining enough to lay the foundation of Cruella’s hatred. The plot itself is pretty predictable but where Hello, Cruel Heart is at its best with the descriptions of London. The bombed out buildings from World War 11, the outfits that Estella creates plus all the details surrounding the London neighborhoods are incredibly vivid.
Hello, Cruel Heart is also so relatable in that who wouldn’t give a small piece of their identity to live in a luxe world when they have been barely scraping bye in a bombed out building? Estella never comes off as entitled, more of a victim of circumstances and someone who eventually gives herself over to the ego that can protect her- Cruella.
Cruella Movie Details
The film focuses on Cruella de Vil, with a prequel story that is set in 1970’s punk rock London. The film is directed by Craig Gilespie and stars Emma Stone,Emma Thompson, Paul Walter Hauser, and Joel Fry, and comes to theaters May 28, 2021.