First the good:
Lots of history. Throughout the book, the author brings us up to date with what was happening in America during the years spanned by the story. The gilded age, suffrage, America and WW I. The "age of enlightenment is touched on along with the women's movement. He also keeps us abreast of the class structure in the North East and, how there ware classes within classes. This is true history and, readers will learn something.
The research done on Ellis Island itself is excellent. How it came to be, how it operated and how the immigrants, escaping their old lives, could be turned around for any reason and deported.
Now the bad:
Stewart can write, no question there but, the characters come off as half-baked. The dialogue is very simple and, as another reviewer mentioned, it's like reading a Lifetime movie. No real plot just 5 stories intertwined by the times.
You find yourself racing to the end of the book just to confirm to yourself you had it all figured out. Some of the characters do some underhanded things but, all to easily, admit this to their significant others or, to the recipient of the deed. There's no real bad guy or good guy. You never really get to root for anyone as, you never really get to know anyone.
It's an easy read. You always know who the subject is and, due to the tepid character development, you can somewhat anticipate their actions. The individual stories are somewhat intriguing if a little shallow.
Worth of your time if you're short on material from your favorite author(s).