Connie Hampton Connally has loved music and the written word all her life, and many of her adult years she’s spent working in those fields as well. She holds a BA in English from the University of Washington and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University. She’s published magazine stories and newspaper articles, worked as an editor and taught high school English and elementary music.
Through teaching music she discovered the work of Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, who uplifted his nation through decades of war, political oppression and social upheaval. Connie couldn’t resist this theme of creating beauty amidst hardship. She wrote The Songs We Hide as a result, and she is currently writing another novel set in Hungary.
Connie and her husband make their home in Tacoma, Washington. They travel frequently, since two of their three adult sons live on other continents. Because of her family and her characters, Connie has set her heart—and often her feet—in faraway places.
The Songs We Hide
A novel set in Cold War Hungary
Forthcoming from Coffeetown Press in 2018
It’s 1951, and in the last six years Hungary has lost a terrible war and gone through a forced transition to communism. Blacklisting, searches, property confiscations, arrests and imprisonments form the nation’s grim backdrop of life, and peasant Péter Benedek lives looking over his shoulder.
When his family’s best land is seized, Péter must leave his village to take a job in Budapest. There he meets Katalin Varga, an unwed mother whose baby’s father has vanished, most likely at the hands of the secret police. Both Péter and Katalin are keeping their heads down and their mouths clamped shut, because silence is the only safety they know.
Yet they are singers, and silence is unbearable. When Katalin starts giving Péter voice lessons, singing together becomes the first intrepid step out of hiding. Little by little they tell each other what they cannot tell others. A bond of trust grows between them. As old pain rips open and old threats break into reality, that bond must strengthen them for the hard tests ahead.