Trying to Rescue Her Sister, Rosemary Places Herself in Peril

Rosemary and her younger half sister, Wendy, share a horrific childhood where they were both sexually abused by Wendy’s father, Jason. Their mother, along with Jason, died in an automobile accident when their car went careening off a cliff. (Rosemary still believes that Jason had suicidal thoughts and killed them both.) Rosemary is now living and working at a minimum wage job in Portland, sharing an apartment with an eclectic group of people. Wendy has been living with her grandmother, Jason’s mother, who still believes her son could do no wrong. When Wendy begins acting out and hurting herself, Rosemary knows she must somehow bring her half sister to live with her in Portland. How she accomplishes that, however, places both herself and Wendy in jeopardy.

Mira, one of Rosemary’s roommates, invites her out for a drink and gives her a small box. Inside is a cellphone containing all of Mira’s contacts. Rosemary has always admired Mira’s designer wardrobe and how she presents herself. Now she learns Mira’s secret. She’s an escort with a wealthy clientele. Now that she’s saved enough money for dental school, she’s offering Rosemary the opportunity to take over her business. 

Rosemary is too overwhelmed to give Mira an answer, but she does take the box. And when Wendy attempts to kill herself, she uses the phone. Her first client, Sebastian St. James may have an upscale name, but he’s definitely downscale. After dinner, he invites Rosemary to his hotel room, but even though he hands her an envelope with a thousand dollars, Rosemary can’t go through with it. 

Her next client comes through Sebastian, but he’s attractive and Rosemary thinks that this time, maybe, it will be okay. But Leo Glass isn’t interested in a one night stand. He wants to hire Rosemary. While Rosemary doesn’t recognize Glass, her friend does. Turns out Leo Glass is a tech billionaire, founder and CEO of Glasseye, a company that has raised surveillance to another level. The glass eyes, which have replaced cellphones, can track people. And when placed in private or public places make privacy a thing of the past. 

Rosemary puts great thought into what business outfit she will wear for her interview with Glass, even tucking her resume into her purse. The job he has in mind, however, is not what she expected or, in reality, wants. He’s offering her the job of being his girlfriend, even drawing up a contract. He will give her an apartment and deposit $6,000 a month into her account. Glass’ assistant Alejandro, takes Rosemary to the apartment in an older but fashionable building in Portland. She can already see how the place could be a home for her and Wendy. She signs the contract.

Soon after moving in, Rosemary meets her neighbor, Sam, who was once in a famous band, Ferguson. Now he plays the viola in the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Attracted to Sam and, technically still waiting to start her job as Leo’s girlfriend, they spend two amazing days together, making love in her apartment and in his. 

Being Leo’s girlfriend is nothing like Rosemary imagined. He disappears for days, but when he does call, she must drop everything to be with him. Although he keeps telling her she’s beautiful and it’s obvious he’s attracted to her, they never have sex. Rosemary is confused. Why should an attractive billionaire pay for a girlfriend and then keep her at arms’s length?

Meanwhile Sam is also confused about why Rosemary would begin an affair with him if she already has a boyfriend. When she tells him she needs to stop seeing him, he’s angry and Rosemary knows she’s giving up perhaps her only chance for a real, loving relationship. 

Rebecca Kelley

Wendy arrives and Rosemary must hide what her “job” is from her younger sister. Meeting Leo often means dressing to the nines in one of the gowns Mira has gifted her. Telling Wendy she’s leaving for an important meeting looking like she’s going to a nightclub raises all sorts of questions. 

Rosemary soon realizes she’s in over her head, not only with Leo, who refuses to let her out of their contract, but also with parenting Wendy. Hannah, who Wendy says is one of her classmates, soon extends overnight invitations and Rosemary, looking for a way to evade questions and keep Wendy happy and occupied, readily agrees. Only later will she discover that Hannah is not 14, but 20 and poses a danger to Wendy.

Rebecca Kelley’s No One Knows Us Here is unnerving on several levels. Rosemary’s history with an abusive stepfather made her easy prey for someone like Leo Glass. The guilt she carries around from not rescuing her half sister – even though, other adults around her should have stepped up – pushes her to make unwise decisions that help neither her nor Wendy. The intrusive tech environment Kelley sketches out may be a harbinger of what lies ahead. That alone may keep many readers up all night.

No One Knows Us Here
Rebecca Kelley

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (597 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.