She was a novelist who was the youngest daughter of Patrick Brontë. She was also the sister of Charlotte Brontë and Emily Brontë. Her modest, gentle nature and the illness which brought her to a premature grave helped establish her as a romantic figure like her sister Emily. She was successful in using her knowledge of being a governess in her novels. Like her sisters she was precocious. Her schoolroom was Gondal (a large island) and with it helped create a whole world for herself. At the age of 16 she took Emily's place at Roe Head. This helped prepare her for the acceptable profession of being a governess.
She then moved to live with the Robinson family where she was taught how to keep her thoughts and opinions to herself. Her novel Agnes Grey bears witness to the problematic situation of a governess who was often stuck in between the family and the servants. This position meant she had the perfect opportunity to observe people's lives. Her heroine Agnes beared resemblence to herself: she was both conscientious and pious. The result was someone who was easily upset by unruly children and ill-mannered parents. One could view them both ambigiously. Often they seem cruel and patronising.
Agnes Grey made little impression when published. But The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was far more ambitious in scope. It had far more of her home life in it, especially the degradation of her brother Patrick Branwell Brontë. It is a more challenging novel showing a refined and sensitive wife married to a debauched husband. The law at the time offered wives no protection. But it shows a mother determined to save her son and as such reveals a great sympathy for women in such positions. It is often related to the belief that Anne was in love with her father's curate William Weightman. She knew that she would most likely remain unmarried. So the novel she wrote described a woman break free from a restrictive husband and find happiness in her second marriage. It received mixed reviews at the time.
She was born in 1820 and died of tuberculosis in 1849. She had lived a devout Christian life to the end. When she died at the age of 29 she had been impressively successful considering the problems she faced as a woman and a young governess living in the early to mid 19th century.