Connie Hampton Connally
I am a writer who loves good music and good stories.
It’s been my privilege to combine these loves by writing fiction that honors the creation of beauty, even in the bleakest of circumstances, through the creation of music.
Connie and her husband live in Tacoma, Washington. They travel frequently, since they have family members living abroad. Because of her family and her characters, Connie has set her heart—and often her feet—in faraway places.
A new novel – COMING SOON…
One August evening in 2006, Antal Varga, an old Hungarian violinist, is approached by a young American stranger. The woman, Lisa Denman, hands him music he himself wrote at age seventeen. Suddenly Varga’s darkest memories are jarred open, for he wrote this during Budapest’s terrible siege of 1945. Lisa, a distant relative, wants to know the music’s story, which her grandparents held back from her. Sensing that the time has come to face old hurts, Varga re-opens the music. The siege and its harrowing aftermath are again laid bare before him. Little by little, Varga deals with Lisa’s questions, as his grandson Kristof translates and begins asking questions of his own. In working through the music together, Varga, Lisa and Kristof each confront their shared and separate pain. They discover that though hurt may extend over generations, love extends further still, and grief can be re-composed as beauty.
The Songs We Hide
Published by Coffeetown Press
In 1951, a grim hush has settled over Hungary. After a lost war and a brutal transition to communism, the people live under constant threat of blacklisting, property confiscation, arrest, imprisonment and worse. In this milieu of dread, the best land of Peter Benedek’s peasant family is seized and his life upended. Moving to Budapest for a manual labor job, Peter 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 keep their heads down and their mouths clamped shut, because silence is the only safety they know.
But the two have something in common besides fear: they are singers. When Katalin starts giving Péter voice lessons, they take an intrepid step out of hiding by making music together. Little by little they tell each other what they cannot tell others. In their bond of trust, they find relief and unexpected happiness.
Yet the hurts and threats in their lives remain, waiting. As harsh reality assaults them again, is hope even possible? Facing their hardest trials yet, Peter and Katalin learn to carve dignity and beauty out of pain.
To order the book:
“Enriching and evocative, Connie Hampton Connally’s historical The Songs We Hide is about the redemptive potency of beauty, love and music . . . [It] resounds with grace and poignancy. It is a captivating masterpiece of historical fiction.”
—Starred review, Foreword Reviews
“Like a pristine blossom in a devastated landscape, The Songs We Hide affirms the power of beauty and art in the midst of oppression. Connally convincingly recreates 1950’s Hungary with a story as timeless as love.”
—Bruce Holland Rogers, author of The Keyhole Opera, Fulbright Professor to Hungary
“Connie Hampton Connally’s historical novel The Songs We Hide is a beautifully written, well-researched page turner. I simply could not put the book down. The Songs We Hide fills a great gap in American literature, describing a horrific era that is out of the experience of most Americans.”
—Helen M. Szablya, Hon. Consul Emerita of Hungary
“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.”
“This is a beautiful and haunting book… [Connally] portrays the frightening reach of petty tyranny as well as the surprising power of simple acts of kindness…”
—Eric O. Jacobsen, author of The Space Between: A Christian Engagement With the Built Environment
“The Songs We Hide is a tender triumph: a book about the insidiousness of oppression, the strength of shyness, …of choosing risk wisely…. I loved Peter and Katalin from the get go. They’ll stay with me for a long time.”
—Ana Maria Spagna, author of Uplake: Restless Essays of Coming and Going
“In The Songs We Hide, Connie Hampton Connally evokes stunning emotions… the reader will wonder, and hope—Can people withstand, can they be stronger than the hatred and betrayal around them?”
—Wendy Kendall, sydicated columnist
“Who can you trust when your own government betrays you? Connie Hampton Connally takes us into Hungary shortly after World War II and the bonds that form when old rules no longer apply. Meticulously researched and written, The Songs We Hide brings us face to face with this little explored chapter of history…”
—Kathleen Alcala, author of Spirits of the Ordinary
Write in the Harbor Writers Conference, November 7, 2020
Write in the Harbor is an intimate and high-quality conference for writers. This year it's digital. I'll give two presentations, one on historical fiction and the other on writing the opening pages of a novel. For more information about the conference, see their...
May 20, 2020 — 7 pm — Podcast Interview
Podcast interview on A Novel Talk with co-hosts Wendy Kendall and Carl Lee. Discussion of The Songs We Hide. I'll share what compelled me to write the novel, and how the characters developed as I wrote. We'll also explore the novel's bleak setting (Stalinist...
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