Historical fiction refers to novels or stories that are set in the past, usually during a significant or well-recognized time period. In historical fiction, the time period is a vital part of the setting and sometimes is part of the story itself.
While this type of fiction usually contains fictional characters, sometimes well-known historical figures are included as well. Authors of this type of fiction typically pay close attention to the historical details of the period in which their stories are set such as living conditions in the period, the clothing worn, the way people spoke and so on. This is to ensure that they give a sense of realism to the historical period in which the narratives take place.
In alternative-history fiction famous events may be changed or be described from modern points of view or they may show historical figures reacting to real events in a way that is not described in academic history books.