Historical fiction refers to a literary genre in which the story takes readers to a time and place set in the past. As a rule of thumb, the distance back in time an author needs to set their work for it to be considered part of this genre is at least 50 years. The purpose of such fiction is to take readers into events in the past beyond their lifetime.
What makes these historical works believable is the setting; they are typically set in a real place, during a culturally recognizable time with the details of the story being a mix of actual events and ones the author has imagined. Characters can be entirely fictional or based on real people in history but their attitudes and appearance, the way they speak, and issues they face must match the historical period and the key to success in this type of fiction is thorough research.