Love America

Love America Jenny Robin Jones

‘Superbly written and researched, Love America contains a fine writer’s highly personal, richly imaginative insights into a small but fascinating corner of the idea of America.’ 

Geoff Walker.

Also available through:

‘You will be pleased to know that “Love America” was instrumental in saving one US citizen from insanity during our recent deplorable conflicts.  Finally, we have a new president.  During that horrible week in January, I picked up your book for a closer read and found consolation. 

‘All my life the idea of America had occupied a space in my psyche . . . I needed to see it. I needed to find a way to live with it and not despair. I needed to update my idea of America.’

In 2015 the author made a short visit to America and in particular to New Mexico in the company of a dear friend.

She stayed in the same building that was the meeting point for many famous writers and artists who were seeking transformation in their art and a deeper understanding of America and its diversity. ­ They included D H Lawrence, Willa Cather, Georgia O’Keeffe, Dorothy Brett, Ansel Adams, film-maker Dennis Hopper and many others.

The author was seeking a sense of connection with America that went beneath sensational headlines in the news.

This book is the story of that visit, revelations afforded her from subsequent research and the evolution of a relationship.

‘It was like a game of travel roulette. I never knew where my curiosity would direct me next and where I would spend the next weeks or months enriching my understanding of America’s history, geography, cultures and artistic achievements.’

The following photos were taken on the visit to Taos and Santa Fe in New Mexico. As they relate to text in Love America we have included the relevant page numbers.

Links to media clips and interviews

‘A Kiwi’s love letter to the US’, with Simon Morris on Standing Room Only

Interview on Plains FM with Morrin Rout


‘Jenny Robin Jones talks about Love America’, Q&A on NZ Booklovers

Review in Otago Daily Times:

What reviewers say

From the New Zealand Listener

Love America delves deep beneath the layers of generalisations and superficialities to produce a wry, slightly eccentric but insightful account of an outsider’s journey through a single corner of a vast country; a place where elements of First Americans, Spanish and Europeans meet in a often uneasy co-existence. Packing a lifelong fascination with the US in her literary travel bag alongside an essential Kiwi inquisitiveness, innocence and pragmatism, Jones searches out –  sans photos – DH Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Dennis Hopper and others along the dusty desert highways. She is an ideal travelling companion in this rewarding and illuminating account of her discovery of America’s past, present and, perhaps, future.                                                                                    Clare de Lore, January 16, 2021

From Review Regional News – Eyes on Wellington

‘Jones does an incredible job of describing the fascinating stories that are woven into the history of the local land and landmarks. Every anecdote is relevant and holds a power that helps to reinforce the significance and beauty of the route the companions take. Jones successfully inspires the reader to want to know more and make the journey first-hand. Seriously, if it were not for current travel restrictions, I would be on the next flight over to New Mexico!

‘To travel is to explore culture, identity and humankind itself. Jones does a profound job of showcasing these meaningful connections and I could not have loved this book more!’

                                                                                                            Ayla Akin, January 2021

From Otago Daily Times

This is a sensitive and moving exploration through a small slice of the turmoil that is shaping contemporary America, where visions, lifestyles, race and history continue to collide.

Jessie Neilson, May 2021 

From NZ Booklovers

Love America is beautifully written, a rich literary book full of discovery – a journey full of surprises.

                                               Karen McMillan, January 2021                                                                                                                                          

What readers say

‘Written with energy and directness, Love America blends the curiosities, frustrations and pleasures of travel with literary pilgrimage, social history, artistic critique and the sheer delight of discovery. Above all, Jones’ book is a touching testimony to the joy of a journey in the company of a good friend.’ 

– Fiona Farrell

‘Jenny Robin Jones is initially a reluctant traveller: America doesn’t appeal. But inspired by the travels of writers she admires, she follows in their footsteps. Reflective, meticulously researched, and written with heartfelt clarity, this book takes the reader on both a personal and literary journey.’

– Linda Burgess

‘You will be pleased to know that “Love America” was instrumental in saving one US citizen from insanity during our recent deplorable conflicts.  Finally, we have a new president.  During that horrible week in January, I picked up your book for a closer read and found consolation. 

You may like feedback on what people find remarkable in your book.  Firstly, I enjoyed the thread of “game of roulette, toss of the dice”. It does seem as if life is often a game of chance.  Also loved the America that is continuing “on its wrecking ball path”.  Fair enough… So many of your descriptions and quotes reminded me to appreciate what we have.  I will be mindful of enjoying my gifts…  That’s what you have done for me.  Given me hope in your compilation of the talents and lives of so many connected to New Mexico and America. 

Kathy Glidden, New Mexico

‘The book was testament to the power of the spark every book requires.  Something that, because of circumstance, seems to take on deeper meaning.  The spark, seems to me, was your being physically present in the Big House. Something about it that catalysed your general fascination with writing, with the writing life, and the people who go down that lane. And certainly, also, those souls who support people already turned to the writing life, and who draw power from that – very interesting people in the case of this retreat, and interesting tribal characters too. I thought often as I read the Pueblo material – this can apply to Maori – and then a little later, you said the same thing.’  

Geoff Chapple

Chapter List

1. Ignition. 2. The Big House. 3. Adobe Here, Adobe There. 4. Lawrence and Mabel in Terra Incognita. 5. Saving the Indians. 6. The Blue Lake. 7. Big Fat Secret in the High Desert. 8. Conquistadors in the Saddle. 9. Willa Cather in Disputed Territory. 10. Red Hills and Black Mesa with Georgia O’Keeffe. 11. An Offer of Beauty from Millicent Rogers. 12. The Big House remembers. Epilogue

Further Reading

Love America is fully notated with bibliography and index. Here is a book list for further reading.

 Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams: a biography, Mary Street Alinder, Bloomsbury, New York, 2014

D H Lawrence.

Bachrach, Arthur J., D.H. Lawrence in New Mexico – the time is different there, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2006.

Brett, Dorothy, Lawrence and Brett: A Friendship, Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, 2006.

D.H. Lawrence: Selected Essays, introduced by Richard Aldington, Penguin Books, London, 1950.

Dyer, Geoff, Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of D.H. Lawrence, Canongate Books, Edinburgh, 2015

Lawrence, D.H., Mornings in Mexico and Other Essays, edited by Virginia Crosswhite Hyde. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D.H. Lawrence (1936), Viking Press, New York, 1972.

The Plumed Serpent, William Heinemann Ltd, first published 1926, this edition 1965.

“The Woman Who Rode Away/St Mawr/The Princess”, 1925 and 1928, this edition, Penguin Classics, London, 2006.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Studies in Classic American Literature, First published by William Heinemann 1924, this Penguin edition, Middlesex, 1971

Luhan, Mabel Dodge, Lorenzo in Taos, Alfred Knopf, New York, 1932.

Terra Incognita: D.H. Lawrence at the Frontiers, edited by Virginia Crosswhite Hyde and Earl G. Ingersoll, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Rosemont Publishing & Printing Corp., 2010.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Barbara Buhler Lynes, Lesley Poling-Kempes, and Fredrick W. Turner, Georgia O’Keeffe and New Mexico: A Sense of Place, Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Santa Fe and Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 2004.

Georgia O’Keefe, ed Tanya Barson, Abrams, New York, 2016.

My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: Volume One, 1915-1933, edited by Sarah Greenough, Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, 2011.

Reily, Nancy Hopkins, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Private Friendship, Part 11 Walking the Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch Land, Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, 2009.

Millicent Rogers

Burns, Cherie, Searching for Beauty: the Life of Millicent Rogers, the American Heiress Who Taught the World about Style, St Martin’s Griffin Press, New York, 2012.

Willa Cather

Cather, Willa, Death Comes for the Archbishop, first published 1927. This edition Vintage Classics, New York, 1990.

­Cather, Willa, O Pioneers! 1913, this edition Hesperus Press Ltd, London 2013.

Cather, Willa, My Antonia, 1918, this edition Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1988.

Cather, Willa, Not Under Forty, Cassell, London, 1936

Lewis, Edith, Willa Cather Living: A Personal Record, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 1953, this edition 2000.

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather, edited by Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013.

Mabel and Tony Luhan

Luhan, Mabel Dodge, Lorenzo in Taos, Alfred Knopf, New York, 1932.

Taos Edge of the Desert: an escape to reality, University of New Mexico Press, 1937

Winter in Taos, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1935. 

Rudnick, Lois Palken, Mabel Dodge Luhan, New Woman, New Worlds, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1984.

(ed), The Suppressed Memoirs of Mabel Dodge Luhan: Sex, Syphilis, and Psychoanalysis in the Making of Modern American Culture, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2012.

Frank Waters

Waters, Frank, Brave are my people: Indian heroes not forgotten, Clear Light Publishers, Santa Fe, 1993.

The Man Who Killed the Deer, 1942, Neville Spearman Ltd, this edition Swallow Press, Ohio University Press, Athens, 1962.

The Woman at Otowi Crossing, First published 1966, this edition Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, Athens, 1997.

Taos and Santa Fe Writers Colonies

Cline, Lynn, Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers’ Colonies 1917-1950, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2007.

Utopian Vistas: the Mabel Dodge Luhan House and the American

Counterculture, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1996, first paperbound printing, 1998.

Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy

de Aragon, Ray John, Padre Martinez and Bishop Lamy, Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, 2006

Padre Martinez: New Perspectives from Taos, Essays by E.A. Mares, Bette S. Weidman, Thomas J. Steele, S.J., Patricia Clark Smith, Ray John de Aragon, Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos New Mexico, 1988.


Gibson, Carrie, El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America, Grove Atlantic Inc, New York, 2019.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, Ticknor Reed & Fields,Boston, 1850.

New Mexican Lives: Profiles and Historical Stories, edited by Richard W. Etulain, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2002.