Cowboy Homecoming with Louise M. Gouge

Today Louise M. Gouge joins us at the Junction and she’ll be giving away a copy of her new book, Cowboy Homecoming! Let’s give her a warm welcome!

I’m so happy to be a returning guest here on Petticoats and Pistols. Thank you all for inviting me back! Let me tell you what I’ve been up to in the realm of historical western romance.

When writing a series of novels, we romance authors face a challenge. To keep the series exciting to our readers from one book to the next, we must create a unique romantic conflict between the hero and heroine of each story. For my editor, I also must have an interesting, overarching conflict the couple needs to solve together. It can be anything from unravelling a mystery to reaching a destination on the other side of a deep, dark valley or building a new hotel in a small town.

My brand-new April release, Cowboy Homecoming, the fifth book in my Four Stones Ranch series, is no different. Cowgirl Laurie Eberly already cares for cowboy and newly minted lawyer Tolley Northam. They grew up together on neighboring ranches, and their fathers often spoke of wanting a marriage between the two families. (They have plenty of sons and daughters, so it’s possible for that to happen!) Only problem is, Laurie can’t trust former bad boy Tolley. Does he truly love her, or is he showing interest in her because he desperately wants to please his father?

In the meantime, Laurie and Tolley end up living in the same boarding house so they can help dear old widow Foster, who’s fallen down the stairs while carrying a bucket of water upstairs to clean her boarders’ rooms. Laid up with a sprained leg and broken arm, Mrs. Foster can’t take care of her house or boarders. Tolley comes up with the idea of installing a bathroom on the second floor of the house so the lady will never have to carry water upstairs again. Laurie loves the idea, but she and Tolley have different ideas about how to get the job done, so that adds to the fun of the story.

But were there bathrooms in 1885 homes in small town Colorado? And if so, how would such a room be built in an already completed house? Believe me, I had to check several sources to bring it all together. My best go-to book for the series is A Bridge to Yesterday by Emma M. Riggenbach, which tells the history of Monte Vista, Colorado, the town on which I based my fictional town of Esperanza. Set in the San Luis Valley, this cozy town holds many surprises for people who think all historical western stories are the same.

For instance, in 1889, a grand, three-story hotel was built in Monte Vista. It was constructed of pink stone quarried seven miles from town. In the hotel, artesian water was pumped to all three floors. Taking literary license with that information, I reasoned that because Boston’s Tremont Hotel had full bathrooms since 1830
, and many Boston homes had them by the 1880s, bathrooms were no doubt popping up all over the West. Since my hero has just spent two years in Bean Town, he rather likes the modern convenience and wants to bring it to his hometown. Laurie has spent some time in Denver, and she’s enjoyed bathrooms in finer hotels.

To find out how Laurie and Tolley accomplish their goal of helping dear Mrs. Foster by installing a bathroom in her house AND finding the way to their very own happily-ever-after, you may want to pick up a copy of Cowboy Homecoming. Or you can enter our drawing for a free copy by leaving a comment or question about the history of bathrooms (U. S. residents only).

COWBOY HOMECOMING — After two years, Tolley Northam returns home, transformed from a mischievous youth into an ambitious lawyer confident of winning his father’s approval at last. But he soon begins to wonder if the only way to do so is to marry family friend Laurie Eberly—a woman his father has always liked. If only she weren’t so adamant about refusing Tolley’s proposal…

Laurie’s childhood friend is now a handsome, accomplished lawyer with undeniable charm. But she can’t accept Tolley’s proposal; she believes it’s just to earn his father’s praise. First he’ll have to prove to her that he wants her for a wife not because his father thinks she’s the perfect match, but because he does.

Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical Romances. She received the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in 2005 and placed in 2011, 2015, and 2016; and placed in the Laurel Wreath in 2012. When she isn’t writing, she and David, her husband of fifty-plus years, enjoy visiting historical sites and museums. Please visit her Web site at,, Twitter: @Louisemgouge

Guest Blogger


  1. Wow! That picture of the bathtub brings back memories of the one I used whenever I visited my Grandma in Boulder City, NV. I loved it.

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    1. How neat that you have first hand knowledge of a claw foot bathtub, Cindy. I do, too. My parents lived in a very old house in Monte Vista, Colorado, and all of the fixtures were original. In addition to the tub, it had a beautiful porcelain pedestal sink. That was the inspiration for the bathroom in my story.

  2. Sounds like a really intriguing book. I agree that the couple when I’m reading a book does need some kind of conflict to make the story more intriguing. I love when it’s a mystery to solve. Glad you came to share. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    1. Thanks, Tonya. You have a great weekend, too.

  3. Love your post! As a child, my first experience with a claw foot bathtub was at my grandparents house.

    1. I’m thinking there are still a few of these tubs around. Would love to have one now, but our bathroom is too new.

  4. A house my husband and I purchased had a claw foot tub. I loved it. It was deep, and you could really slide down and have a good soak.

    1. Oh, yes, Estella! I remember filling that deep tub and soaking to my heart’s content.

  5. I would love a nice big tub like that. I have never seen one in person. The only ones I have seen and had in homes are those tiny things they seem to put in all of them these days. They are so small, I don’t even take baths. I use the shower instead. But I dream on a nice long soak.

    1. Oh, yes, that nice long soak at the end of a busy day! I don’t know why today’s tubs are so small. To save water, I suppose.

  6. My grandparents had a tub like that in there summer home.

    1. Kim, when my first child was born, my husband was in the army, and I lived with my parents, the aforementioned owners of one of these tubs. So my daughter’s first baths, when she was big enough, of course, were in that tub. Great fun for her.

      1. Only time we got to enjoy a bath in a tub like that was in the summer. Everything else was so modern for the 60’s and 70’s

  7. Never used a claw foot tub, but I wish I did not have the dinky fiberglass tub I have now… rather have a real tub like I grew up with.

    1. I don’t blame you, Colleen. Don’t like those fiberglass fixtures.

  8. The apartment I lived in when I went to college in Boston had a clawfoot bathtub, and yes indeed it was lovely for a truly submerged soak! Of course various kinds of bathing “tubs” or whatever have been around for a long time, but the cast iron one with bonded enamel on it was invented by a Scot — of course, like a lot of things! — in the 1880s while working in Detroit. I imagine it was the cast iron that kept those lovely long soaks so warm for so much longer than what we have today. Earlier tubs were of various sizes and shapes of different metals but without the enamel. I also read that an early one was marketed as a “horse trough/hog scalder” with four legs. 🙂 Whatever it would be called, I wish I had one again.

    1. LOL! Eliza, that’s great information. I wish I’d had it while writing Cowboy Homecoming. I always love to read details like that and try to write them as much as possible.

  9. I love your books!

    1. Thanks. I’m so glad to know that. <3

  10. We have a tub like the one in our master bath. It was salvaged from an old house next door to my aunt’s. They are great soaking tubs. When we were looking at houses to by, we looked at a Victorian that had a 2 hole outhouse on the second floor. I had never heard of such a thing. This was a very nice house: pocket doors, built in managing China cabinets, butler’s pantry, and vanities with painted porcelain bowls. It is a bit hard to figure how they would be able to clean them well. The farm house I grew up in had a 3 hole outhouse separate from the living area. It had 2 “adult” sized holes and a smaller child sized hole.

    1. That’s so interesting, Patricia. Seems like people have used great creativity to handle bathroom needs.

  11. I remember my grandma having a huge claw foot tub, like the one pictured above. They sure don’t make them like that anymore! I also love the place that you have used as your setting in this book. It is a beautiful area in Colorado. You are a new author to me and I’m looking forward to reading more books from you! jumpforjoy @

    1. Thank you, Joy. It’s lovely to “meet” another person who loves the San Luis Valley. After you read Cowboy Homecoming, I hope you’ll check out my entire Four Stones Ranch series and see more of the Valley. Each book stands alone, so you don’t have to read them in order. Blessings!

  12. Thank you for the post on the history of bathrooms. It was really interesting. This looks like a great and fun book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    1. You’re welcome, Susan. 🙂

  13. Artesian water pumped three floors up. Wow! That must have seemed like a fantastic luxury to people who used to tote water from the well or a creek. Thanks for this interesting post, Louise.

    Nancy C

    1. Hi, Nancy C. Yes, that’s pretty amazing. In the San Luis Valley, the water table was very high, so high that few people could build basements under their homes. Settlers very soon had wells and pumps to bring the water into their homes. But in recent years, the water table has gone way down due to irrigation for potatoes and other cash crops.

  14. After I wrote you a note yesterday, I saw a TV ad last night for bathtubs that free-standing in old fashioned styles as well as modern oval shapes! Geez, what’s old is new again. I bet the modern, classic clawfoots aren’t iron, though. 🙂

    1. How interesting, Eliza. If I were remodeling, I’d sure want that old-fashioned looking tub.

  15. I love the old soaking tubs that are so hard to find now. However, my tastes have changed from the European/American claw foot to the Japanese tall and extra deep tubs you sit up in. You soak all the way to your chin with nothing else exposed. Did you know that the Japanese also created the kind of bidet we are familiar with today? Bidet’s originated in France, but it was the Japanese, in the 1940’s, who modified them to have the upward shooting water. One day I’ll have a “wet room” bathroom with these luxuries that started on the western end of the world and, if you ask me, were perfected on the eastern end.

    1. Susan, what neat information! Thank you for sharing!

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