Woman finds her childhood book in museum

Zoe identified her childhood copy of The Secret Garden by the hieroglyphics inside Image copyright Museum of English Rural Life
Image caption Zoe identified her childhood copy of The Secret Garden by the hieroglyphics inside

When a little girl wrote her name in hieroglyphics in a front cover, she didn't realise it would reunite her with the book decades later.

As children in Reading, England, Zoe Andrews and her sister Hannah read the English classic The Secret Garden, annotating the front cover with Hannah's name.

Eventually they outgrew the story and gave it to a local Oxfam charity shop.

Last week, when browsing in the second-hand book store of a Reading museum, Zoe, now 35, opened a copy of The Secret Garden and saw the same hieroglyphics.

Image copyright Zoe
Image caption The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a classic English story, published in 1911

The Museum of English Rural Life had recently purchased Hannah's childhood book, in order to re-sell in their own shop.

The story has sparked delight on social media, as people marvel at how the book was returned to its original owner.

"Completely bizarre and unexpected. But it feels right to have it back," Zoe said after finding the book, which she re-purchased for 50p.

"I wonder how many other kids read it over the years? I couldn't believe it when I opened it up."

"I think when things work their way back to you, they were never meant to leave you in the first place."

Image copyright Museum of English Rural Life
Image caption The Museum of English Rural Life found Zoe's copy of The Secret Garden in a charity shop

Danielle Eade, who works at the museum, commented: "Zoe almost didn't tell us the story behind it. When she did, I couldn't let her leave without finding out more and asking her for a photo. It was such a lovely and heart-warming tale."

Others have shared their own stories of precious objects lost and found.

"A few years ago my girlfriend and I strolled into an antiques store while our husbands took a walk.

"Imagine my amazement when I spotted a wedding photo of my parents on the wall! It had belonged to my grandparents and my uncle disposed of "unwanted" family photos when Grandma died," wrote Twitter user Narelle Hahn-Smith.

Zoe Laura King also commented on Twitter: "I had a favourite board game as a child where you went to tube stations. My friend owned it. We decided it wasn't hard enough so we wrote new game cards.

"Home from university, off to babysit, I bought the game from a charity shop. I discovered cards in my 10 year old writing."