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Original Sin is set in the late 19th century Cuba during the Spanish rule,   and flashes back and forth from the scene of a woman awaiting her execution by garrote while telling her story to a priest, to the actual events of that story. Julia alights from the ship, looking nothing like the photos she had sent prior to her voyage. Julia explains she wants more than a man who is only interested in a pretty face and that is why she has been deceptive—substituting a plain-looking woman's photo in place of her own picture. Luis also admits to a deception; he has been misleading her into believing that he is a poor clerk in a coffee export house, instead of being the rich owner of that coffee export house.