Laurel Dewey is best known her gritty crime thriller series featuring Denver homicide detective Jane Perry (Protector, Redemption,and Revelations). Her latest book, Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden, is a romantic, humorous novel about a conservative widow’s radical awakening… and medicinal marijuana.
Dewey, who has also written two non-fiction books about plant-based medicine, was inspired to tackle the controversial topic after meeting a woman she would have never identified as a “drug user”– a cancer patient that used marijuana to manage chemo induced nausea and anxiety. She got to work — reading up on the properties of the plant, speaking with medicinal marijuana patients, physicians, caregivers, and growers. Through her research, she gained and understanding and appreciation of the helpful properties of cannabis and rethought her own long-held anti-marijuana stance.
How could anyone refer to that green menace as…medicine? To Betty Craven, staunch Conservative and proud founding member of the Paradox Republican Women’s Group, the upsurge of medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations in her tightly-knit neighborhood was more than a concern. It was a cause for outrage. Granted, the odious practice was legal, according to Colorado’s liberal state constitution. Yet, as Betty knew, from personal experience, marijuana was a drug of criminal caliber, addictive and deadly. Five years ago, she lost her beloved son, Frankie, to a massive drug overdose. For her boy—a sensitive, reflective, gentle soul, so unlike his father—it had all started with marijuana.
In Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden, novelist Laurel Dewey introduces a dynamic heroine—58-year-old Betty Craven, former beauty queen and recent widow, the epitome of elegance and propriety—who gets involved in the controversy over medical marijuana, in shocking, convention-defying, emotionally complicated, and life-transforming ways. Driven by memorable, colorful characters and packed with intrigue, humor, romantic tension, and enlightening facts about the healing properties of cannabis, the novel gently raises awareness of a timely subject matter while drawing readers into the story of a woman who gradually comes to question her long-held beliefs and principles, let down her facade, and rediscover her true and amazing self.
Under her polished veneer, no one saw the real Betty Craven: a woman simmering with discontent. Frankie had been her greatest joy and her greatest failure. Grief gnawed at her, never abating. Still, Betty soldiered on, with precision and finesse, as she had from the day she left her hometown in Houston and married her military beau. Throughout her oppressive marriage, she kept up her appearance as the perfect wife—with a curvaceous, stately frame and flawless, wavy blond locks to compliment her skills as hostess and gourmet cook. When her husband, Colonel Craven, died, two years after her son, she resolved to keep up her appearance as the perfect widow. Yet, Betty felt liberated and raring to find something to fill up her emptiness. On a whim, she invested her talent for decadent confections—and the lion’s share of her inheritance—in the perfect small business: a gourmet chocolate shop. Sadly, the economic downturn ate up her customers. Eighteen months after its grand opening, The White Violet closed its doors. Since then, Betty’s sorrow has found a companion: anxiety over finances. For solace, Betty relies on bourbon and her sole surviving source of joy: her glorious, vibrant flower garden.
The first two chapters of Betty’s (Little Basement) Garden are available on Laurel Dewey’s website. Be sure to check out the author Q & A and 13 Things You May Not Know About Canabis while you’re at it! The complete book is available for purchase and download on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Books a Million.