A Review in Hungarian

When The Songs We Hide was published about two months ago, two Hungarian-American publications ran a review of it. Below is the review that appeared in Nyugati-Hirlevel, which means “Western Newsletter.” This newsletter goes out to Hungarians living the U.S. and Canada (“Western” meaning west of the Atlantic Ocean). I can’t read the review below, but the newsletter’s editor, Julianna Bika, told me she loved the book. It’s an honor seeing my book reviewed in the language of my characters. So for any of you who can read this difficult language . . . enjoy!

1951-ben Magyarországra komor idők telepedtek. Az elveszett háború és a kommunizmusba való brutális átmenet alatt   a feketelistázás, a vagyonelkobzás, erőszakos téeszesítés, letartóztatások, bebörtönzések a kitelepítések időszakában az emberek folyamatosan fenyegetettségben éltek.
1951-1953 között játszódik a regény. Benedek Péter parasztcsaládjának legjobb földjét erőszakosan elveszi a helyi téesz . Péter megismerkedik egy fiatalasszonnyal, akinek gyermekének apját elviszi az ÁVÓ.  Péter Pestre kerül és a két tehetséges fiatal a zenében, az énekben találják meg a közös útjukat,  s így együtt könnyebben tudnak szembenézni az elszomorító kihívásokkal.
Fiatal angol nyelvű magyarok, valamint a szüleik számára érdekes történet, tanulságos. Történelmi vagy földrajzi hibát nem lehet találni Conally könyvében,alapos kutatást végzett és látszik többször járt a helyszíneken, könyve élvezetes olvasmány.

Kiadta a Coffeetownpress
Coffeetownpress.com   2018 májusában

A Review of “The Songs We Hide” Posted in “Reader Views”

The following review appeared in Reader Views:

The Songs We Hide by Connie Hampton Connally is a historical novel set in 1951 Hungary during the country’s transition to communism. In this brutal period of history, singers Peter Benedek and Katalin Varga find a little solace in their shared love for music.

Connally’s exploration of Matyas Rakosi’s Hungary is both thorough and heart-breaking. She does a remarkable job of portraying emotion and the reader feels everything her characters do, from the constant fear of being arrested or blacklisted to the small moments of joy they are afforded by music and family.

This is the first novel I’ve read on post-WWII Hungary. Most focus on the war itself and overlook equally important areas of history. Connally succeeds in bringing the grim reality of 1950s Hungary back to life. Her meticulous research breathes life into the book, painting an accurate picture without overwhelming her readers with information. She brings her audience a delicate blend of fact and fiction that will leave them wanting more.

The Songs We Hide is a great introduction for discussions on communism in high school history classes. With its easily sympathetic characters and bleak atmosphere, this novel is riveting and can hold the attention of teenagers and adults alike.

Connally’s simple, haunting style is perfectly suited to such a story. Focusing on small joys in what seems like a hopeless world, she paints lovely family scenes and gentle moments between tragedies. Each instance of tenderness is only accentuated by the stark reality surrounding the characters. Connally uses this technique time and time again with shocking effectiveness.

This novel examines Rakosi’s Hungary with a musical lens, which makes it stand out from a lot of other post-WWII era fiction I’ve read. Not only are readers following the day-to-day struggles of life in Hungary’s communist transition, they are following two musicians on their journeys; one as he overcomes his personal shyness, and another as she reignites her passion for singing after a traumatic event robbed her of it. That lens adds even more power to the emotional side of the story.

The Songs We Hide is perfect for classrooms and anyone interested in a little explored area of history in fiction. Connie Hampton Connally builds a realistic, captivating setting and the strong voices she gives her narrators are certain to stay with her readers long after they set the novel down. The Songs We Hide makes a fantastic addition to any history buff’s bookshelf!

Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (5/18)