"... delightful original sketches by William Makepeace Thackeray and his two daughters ... a great deal of new material ... essential reading for anyone interested in Virginia Woolf and her Victorian heritage and background."
Hilary Newman, in The Virginia Woolf Bulletin
"He thoroughly grasps the complicated intermarriages of the Ritchies and their friends, and he is strong on allusions to the Bible and to hymns."
Charlotte Mitchell, in The Times Literary Supplement
"Anyone who has read Gordon Ray's two-volume biography of Thackeray will be familiar with the outline of events in the first six chapters of this book; those who have not, will not appreciate the amount of data provided here for the first time. A chief reason for the new details is the shift Aplin has applied to the biographical task – from Thackeray the literary master to Thackeray the pater familias ... Aplin gives the most detailed account to date of Thackeray's last days and death, and carries the story forward twelve more years, through the death of his mother, Minny's marriage to Leslie Stephen, the birth of their daughter, Laura; Annie's first books, and the early development of Annie's friendship with her future husband, Richmond Ritchie ... It is good to see this family with its generosity, tolerance, and emotional connections explored so thoroughly."
Peter Shillingsburg, in Notes and Queries, Vol 58, No 4
"In documenting the lives of the Thackeray family, Aplin draws on a rich trove of primary sources, including diaries, letters and journals as well as previously unpublished papers and photographs that belong to the Thackeray family. He puts these materials to good use, painting a compelling portrait of Thackeray as a paterfamilias who juggled the demands of his public and private lives ... The real success of Aplin's work lies in the focus on the author's familial relationships with the three central women in his life: his mother and his two daughters ... Aplin succeeds in bringing his first volume to a graceful conclusion ... The Inheritance of Genius is a fine first volume that provides readers with a valuable reassessment both of Thackeray and the family that his public persona eclipsed."
Kristi N. Embry, in Studies in The Victorian Novel, Dec 2011
"The chief value of this biography for Thackeray scholars lies in its thorough exploration and accessible presentation of a hitherto undocumented research archive. ... Although Aplin does not directly address the issue of gender difference, the biography sheds light on the customary role of the female dependant (either wife or daughter) of the 'great man' within nineteenth-century biographical discourse, a role requiring both self-effacement and a surrogate form of self-assertion."
Richard Salmon, in Journal of Historical Biography, Vol 9, Spring 2011
"There can be no doubt that both collections by Aplin will enhance scholar's understanding of Thackeray but their greatest contribution will be to researchers of Anne Thackeray Ritchie's life."
Clare Horrocks, in Journal of Victorian Culture, Vol 17 (2)
"John Aplin has succeeded in resituating Thackeray the public author within a domestic, private history of daughters, cousins and generations. ... Aplin writes well, balancing a sense of drama with a judicious use of evidence to make this family history compelling and readable."
Judith L. Fisher, Trinity University, in English Studies, Vol 94, No 5