After the recent death of her grandfather, protagonist Shelley McGraw leaves Toronto for a remote cabin in Northern Ontario, to grieve and plan for her future. Having just finished her B.Sc. in microbiology, the young woman has no money, no remaining family and no home. She is looking forward to the challenge of living in the wilderness, and hoping that this drastic change will bring peace and order to her life. Unfortunately, she arrives at the cabin one day in June, only to discover that it is already occupied by strangers; two fugitives beating her new neighbor, Michael Daillant, almost to death. Shelley is quickly discovered by these two men and is subsequently brutally beaten and raped. After their horrible, violent ordeal, Michael and Shelley explore the bond forged between them and get to know each other better during their two weeks in the hospital. When they are discharged, Shelley agrees, despite her misgivings, to stay together at Michael's cabin for the summer, to offer each other support and friendship as they heal both physically and emotionally. The next few weeks show Shelley a side of life she has never known; companionship, contentment and laughter.
When Michael feels the need to return to his work as a wildlife photographer, he happily involves her; they go camping and hiking in search of pictures and she gets a chance to see much of the local wildlife. They spend the remainder of the summer holiday trying to put their violent encounter behind them, playing and experiencing the many wonders and activities of the north. She is enchanted by the atmosphere; the caribou, loons, fireflies and northern lights. However, their idyllic life begins to unravel as fall approaches. Their lives are irrevocably altered when Shelley discovers that she is pregnant with her rapist's child and though they try to work together, wading through information about abortion and adoption, the agonizing decisions don't come easy. Depression, suppressed rage and secrets kept too long soon cause their relationship to spiral out of control and it is only with the help of Michael's family, friends and one more surprising ally that things can be made right again.
Claiming the Caribou is Georgianna Green's debut novel. After attending three years of courses in Biomedical Science at the University of Guelph, she moved back to her hometown of Red Lake, Ontario, where she currently lives with her fiance, two lizards, three cats and a dog. She is now working on her second novel, Fairy Dust, based on some of her own most humourous and moving life experiences.