In The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction. Joyce Saricks breaks genre appeal into categories of Frame or Setting, Tone and Mood, Story Line, Characterization, Pacing, and Style and Language. Tracking the way these appeal factors are present, and how they develop, is part of shaping a definition of historical fiction.
Saricks is focused on historical fiction written for an adult audience. While her appeal factors work as a general framework, there are other elements to consider.
Saricks’ Appeal Factors for Historical Fiction (and why they don’t completely translate to a teen and young adult readership.)
Why historical fiction appeals to teens, really. It’s mostly about getting swept up in a really good story. But, then again, isn’t it always?