A remote fishing village in Scotland seems the perfect place for Betsy Gillander to abscond for a few days with her fiancé. There, in a landscape marred only by a vast MoD range away to the west, the pale winter sun lights up this next step in her happy and structured life.
But then a violent storm wraps itself around the village and for three days the couple are trapped in their hotel. The enforced intimacy opens Betsy's eyes to the indolent cruelty of the man she's agreed to marry, while in the hotel bar the locals gather, increasingly anxious for news of a boat still out at sea.
By the time the sun reappears, Betsy's fiancé has left her and she is adrift in a community shattered by the loss of the boat and seven of its sons. The pain of her break-up in the face of such tragedy produces in her a terrible guilt and Betsy finds herself drawn into a cloistered, close-knit community with a morality far beyond her understanding...
'Absorbing...while the narrative is well-crafted and builds to a bravura climax, it is in the evocation of atmosphere, that elusive art, that Nicoll really earns his spurs'
'A quietly spooky tale...unsettling and oddly exhilarating'
'Emotionally-wrought...in turn lyrical and violent, fable-like and gutsy'
'Nicoll writes intricate, accurate prose and offers alluring descriptions of the Scottish landscape...The landscape of Wide Eyed is beautiful and the situation is fascinating'
'Lyrical and compelling...Another triumph'