I'm really not sure what it is, if it's Cain and his struggles with his memories of war, the loss of his leg, alcoholism, the debilitating panic attacks... basically life since Iraq.
Or if it's Shelly, the ghost that haunts Silver Oak. He is completely entrancing and his charisma, his sense of fun, exude from the pages.
No, I guess what really makes this book so special is all of it: the characters who suffer yet struggle for happiness; the past, both recent and distant, that is brought to life bit by bit; the coming together of the people, again past and present; the synchronicity of it all.
Whatever the magic is, Nix Winter wielded it wonderfully. The story pulls the reader along as we get to know, in depth, Cain and Shelly, and all those whose lives intersect theirs, one way or the other. There is anger, tears, hope, excitement, joy, terror, and over all a tension that builds and builds with each page.
The House of Silver Oak is a book I go to when I need a fairly quick read that grabs my imagination, runs me through a gamut of emotions, and leaves me feeling... amazing!