Libraries are wonderful places for secrets. I didn’t realise until I started working in one just how many things are left in books unintentionally.

Open a book from your local library and you might well find unexpected ephemera hidden inside. Shopping lists, bookmarks and sticky notes, through to poems, love letters and occasionally greetings cards.

But what about your own personal bookshelves? Would they have treasures hidden in them?

My love for books of all kinds often takes me to second-hand bookshops, which are, in my experience, even better than libraries for yielding unexpected delights.

Under the covers

But have you ever looked under the covers of your hardback books? This is another category of hidden treasure which I was utterly unaware of until recently. I bought the box set of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and read the first two. Then I took the dust jacket off the third so I could read it in the bath.

And look!

hidden secrets in books 1 |

The box set came with twelve found photographs of the characters, too. I used to collect old photos so this was a lovely touch.

I had to wait until the end of the third book to discover who all the signatures belonged to, and who the photos were. But before I read that far, I had excitedly pulled out all my hardbacks to see what else I could find.

Helen Dunmore’s Ingo had the most beautiful mermaidy spine:

hidden secrets | ingo |

Mary Hoffman’s Stravaganza are all equally beautiful without their foiled dust jackets:

Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker had happy hens on the endpapers and a gorgeous Ex Libris sticker. I can’t help but wonder who it once belonged to:

hidden secrets | hens dancing |

And last but not least, Peter Pan in Scarlet and How to Walk in High Heels. Both yielded unexpected foil printed images on their covers:  

hidden secrets | peter pan in scarlet and how to walk in high heels |
I am reliably informed that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has one too, but as I loaned my copy out almost as soon as I’d finished it, I haven’t yet had a chance to peek under the covers…

What secrets is your bookshelf concealing?