Katherine is seventeen, living alone in the beautiful, desolate landscape of southern Arizona. Her mother is feckless, her father busy up north with his new family. Meeting Son, the scion of a local rancher, seems like deliverance. They marry and live as a family in his parents' venerable adobe house, but it soon becomes clear that Son is a man who, as his father says, has a "young heart near withered beneath the breastbone." Katherine must find her own way during a dangerous months-long drought, when everything seems to be disintegrating around her. The physical terrain of "Old Border Road," like Marilynne Robinson's Idaho or Cormac McCarthy's Texas, is more than a backdrop--it informs what happens. Susan Froderberg's novel speaks to universal concerns about commitment, ambition, and betrayal.