The first we hear of Madame Odintsov comes from Madame Kukshin. When Bazarov asks if there are any pretty girls in town, she mentions Madame Odintsov, though she thinks that she is not sufficiently advanced yet.
Arkady meets her at the ball, and is immediately drawn in by her beauty. She learns that he is Nikolai's son, and the two of them begin talking, though she occasionally breaks off to go dance.
Arkady does his best to talk to her all night, but he unwittingly makes her more interested in Bazarov than himself by promoting him so strongly.
She invites the two of them to her hotel. When Arkady discusses it with Bazarov, Bazarov agrees that she is beautiful and very impressive.
At the hotel, Bazarov is talkative and does his best to impress Madame Odintsov.
We learn from the narrator that she was the daughter of a gambler, who squandered most of her inheritance. When both of her parents died, she had to find a way to bring up herself and her sister.
Her aunt came to live with them, and Anna Sergeyevna was about to retire to a life in the country when she met the wealthy Monsieur Odintsov. He died a few years after they were married, leaving her a fortune.
She is much gossiped about around town, but "she turned a deaf ear: she had an independent and pretty determined character" (15.5).
After having Arkady and Bazarov to her hotel, she invites them to her house at Nikolskoye. At Nikolskoye, she and Bazarov begin to become close. She leaves Arkady (who is pining away after her) to keep her younger sister, Katya, company.
Anna Sergeyevna can't understand how Bazarov has no feeling for art, but she has him take her on walks and tell her the names of all the different flowers.
One evening, she draws him into a serious discussion where she admits that she is discontented with her life. Bazarov thinks that she wants to fall in love, but she can't.
Bazarov is frustrated with her because he thinks she is being coy, and though she tries to continue the conversation, he leaves promptly.
The next day, she invites him to her room under the pre-text of asking him for the title of a chemistry textbook.
Inside, however, she reveals that she just wanted to continue their discussion.
Bazarov is frustrated with himself for being drawn in, but eventually lets out a declaration of love for her. He makes a move to kiss her, but she is frightened of him and rejects him.
Embarrassed, he leaves and though she tries to dismiss it as a simple misunderstanding, he departs from Nikolskoye at the first opportunity.
After Arkady and Bazarov visit Bazarov's parents, Arkady talks him into stopping at Nikolskoye before returning to Arkady's home at Maryino.
Anna Sergeyevna is surprised to see them. It is a brief and awkward visit, but she encourages them to come back at another time.
At Maryino, Arkady searches for a pretext to return to Nikolskoye and see Katya. He finds it when his father discovers letters from Anna Sergeyevna's mother to Arkady's own.
This time, Anna Sergeyevna is much happier to see him. Arkady spends much of his time with Katya, but Katya reveals to him that her sister has warmed up to him greatly.
When Bazarov comes to tell Arkady about his duel with Pavel, he goes to see Anna Sergeyevna.
At first, things are tense, but they gradually slip into a companionable relationship.
Bazarov reveals to Anna Sergeyevna that Arkady was in love with her when they first met. She begins to think of Arkady differently.
The next day, Arkady and Katya overhear a discussion between Bazarov and Anna Sergeyevna in which Anna Sergeyevna admits that she is developing feelings for Arkady.
A moment later, however, Arkady proposes to Katya.
When he asks Anna Sergeyevna, she gives her permission and jokes with Bazarov that they must have been pretty old and out of it not to perceive what was happening between her sister and Arkady.
Bazarov tells her that he must leave, and she begs him to stay, but quickly resigns herself to his parting.
Later, when Anna Sergeyevna receives word that Bazarov is dying, she goes to visit with a German doctor in tow.
She sits by his bed, and Bazarov reveals what a failure he considers himself. She assures him that she is there for him, and he asks her for a kiss on the forehead.
She kisses him and departs, and that same night he dies.
In the narrator's survey of the characters at the end of the book, we learn that Anna Sergeyevna marries again. She marries not out of love but "out of conviction," and her husband is "kind-hearted and as cold as ice" (28.9).