Ann first appears as the scholarship student who is mistreated by all girls in her year. She becomes Gemma Doyle's roommate at Spence Acadamy for girls in London, UK. She was designated Gemma's tour guide upon her arrival to the school. Gemma soon became her protector from the Socialite's of the higher society girls of her year.
Over time, and mainly thanks to Gemma and new found bravery on Ann's part, she joins a newly formed club of four, a secret group of girls whom call themselves the Order. This name derived from a tale their art teacher Miss. Hester Moore explained to her class in the drawing covered caves within the forest surrounding Spence.
Over the next several nights, the girls read from a diary, a journal of Mary Dowd, a girl who formally attended Spence, and her journey to a land known as the Realms.
It is soon discovered that the Realms actually exist, and that Gemma actually is able to conjure a door to the secret world.
Upon entry, the girls find a beautiful land full of promise, and at each meeting join Gemna and roam the Realms.
In Rebel Angels, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann make anagrams of their names. Ann's name becomes Nan Washbrad; she is the only one of the girls whose anagram "sounds like an actual name. Ann is look at as the Song of the New Order.
Ann is described as being plain, and poor which furthermore condemns her to the low class. Gemma says in more or less words that if Ann had finer features she'd have a chance to marry out of her class and avoid her fate as a governess. She has mousy brown hair and a runny nose, which she tells Gemma in A Great and Terrible Beauty is not a cold. Her heart's desire is "to be beautiful."
Ann attends Spence Academy, where she has been for many years. She was sent to Spence, as a "scholarship pupil" by her nouveau riche aunt and uncle who wish Ann to be well-learned; they can then employ her as an unpayed governess for their odious children. Ann is thankful for this measly bit of a sacrifice, but she wishes that she had her parents alive and well so that she could marry a respectable young man, and live her life to the fullest like other young, rich, and well bred English girls.
In The Sweet Far Thing she disguises herself in magic and becomes the beautiful Nan Washbrad. Ann, Gemma, and Felicity go to see Macbeth and have a chance encounter with an American actress who recommends Ann for an acting spot with Mr. Katz. When she goes to meet Mr. Katz he is thrilled with her beauty and talents. However he puts much emphasis on her pretty face and not her natural acting skills or her beautiful voice. Ann realises that he would hire her for looks instead of her talent. Afraid that she would not be accepted as she was, she decides not to join the theatre after all, and asks for her horrible cousins to pick her up early from school and begin her life as a governess. However, Felicity and Gemma intervene, retrieving Ann from her cousins' country house, Balmoral Spring. Ann, along with Gemma, auditions again as herself for Mr. Smalls, a composer who had worked with Mr. Katz. Pleased, he grants her a supporting role in his new musical,The Merry Maidens.
Gemma is Ann's roommate and one of her best friends. The two became friends by virtue of their having no other friends and of being roommates. Gemma was asked to be friends with Felicity and Pippa but she would only be friends with them under condition that they would befriend Ann, too. This relationship, first one of obligation, later became real. The girls bonded, and came to love each other.
Ann was often bullied by Felicity but after the New Order was formed they became good friends. Felicity and Ann bonded, and came to love each other just as she and Gemma are. Felicity even took Ann home with her over Christmas break, as Ann would otherwise have had to stay at their school. Felicity has a strong sense of loyalty; when forced to permanently choose sides in The Sweet Far Thing, Felicity stays with Gemma and Ann though Pippa is on the opposing side.
Ann was often bullied by Pippa along with Felicity but after the New Order was formed she became more of a friend to Ann. But Pippa has a weak friendship with Ann. Pippa has a stronger friendship with Felicity than Ann and Gemma.
Annie (Ann) Bradshaw's name comes from Hebrew; it means "favored grace". Her surname, Bradshaw, means "from the broad forest".
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