Catherine Morland is born, which is good since she is the star of this book.
The narrator introduces us to her family. Dad's a clergyman and Mom takes care of Catherine and her nine siblings.
The narrator helpfully informs us that Catherine is a pretty bad heroine: no suffering or tragedies or anything like that.
Catherine is awkward and tomboyish and generally unremarkable as a kid.
Then Catherine hits her teen years and gets better looking. Good for her.
She also becomes interested in fashion, boys, and reading popular Gothic fiction instead of "boring" educational junk – which is like saying she got obsessed with Twilight and thought the classics like, well, Jane Austen, were really lame.
Catherine finds school pretty dull and can't really boast of a talent like drawing or music.
Sadly, Catherine lives in a small community and has yet to meet any handsome young men. Her improving looks are going to waste.
But her neighbors, the Allens, don't have any children and decide to invite Catherine, now seventeen, to visit Bath with them. Catherine is super-excited.
Fun fact: Bath is famous for its hot springs and was a popular spa town/fashionable tourist destination in early nineteenth century Britain.