Nat and Fletcher are twins. But at birth they are separated. Another woman giving birth at the same time, loses yet a third child. The nanny, not wishing her mistress to go through the trauma a third time, switches the dead baby for one of the twins. So Mrs. Cartwright raises Nat, not knowing that her other twin did not die but went on to live in the relatively well-to-do home of the Davenports.
Though they live in different parts of Connecticut both lead similar lives unbeknownst that the other exists. Nat's home is more modest but his parents scrape together to send him to an exclusive boy's school. No problem with Fletcher who goes to a rival school since his parents are well off. Both dabble with school leadership both in prep school and in college. Nat becomes a Vietnam war hero and a successful businessman, Fletcher goes on into politics.
The book switches back and forth between the two men and shows their similar personalities, the similar choices they make, and even naming their children similar names. Eventually the two do meet but still do not know they are brothers. A man named Elliot is killed. He has long been a thorn in both men's sides but in different ways. He derailed an ASB election for Nat because of his own running for the job. He also interrupted Fletcher's position in a law firm because of jealousy over Fletcher's obviously superior intelligence. This man is the one that brings the brothers together, finally, after 42 years.
This report prepared by BethG