Ah, this was excellent! Both because the audio version was brilliantly done, and because the story itself is just superbly written. I can't say that I ever quite fell in love with our young protagonist, because honestly she was naive as all get out most times, but I definitely fell in love with the story surrounding her. I am SO glad I finally read this.
I love that "the second Mrs. De Winter" never actually gets a name. It was one of the first things that struck me about this story, and I could never shake the feeling that it just pushed her further into the shadow of the ever present Rebecca. She dominates the story, Rebecca does. Her name invokes this pristine, well-bred, shining light of a woman who charmed everyone around her. Except, as we all know, there's always more to a person that what is on the outside. Oh, and Daphne Du Maurier has no problem at all with digging straight into that dark and sometimes ugly inner person.
Better still was the copious amount of descriptive writing surrounding Manderly and Mrs. De Winter's time there. I felt like I lived there too. I saw the big, arching trees in the forest. Smelled the flowers that ringed the estate, and even saw the dusty rooms that once housed the woman who would never quite be gone or forgotten. As the book went on, I fell more and more in love with this place. I understood why Max loved it so very much, and why he would want to protect it.
Which is why the ending broke my heart. It was perfection, but still my heart is broken. This was just too good. One star gone, only because Mrs. De Winter drove me bonkers the majority of this story. All I have to say is MAKE SOME DECISIONS WOMAN. I know this book was aptly written for the period, but lord. I could not have been alive during this time. I would have murdered someone myself.