Whoever said fiction was easy is wrong! I know when i read a novel i like to know the author has attempted to get some of the facts right. Most of what i read is historical and it is amazing the sorts of things you need to find out so the story rings true and the reader is not misled.
Research takes up so much time. I'm currently researching medieval Scotland, in particular the highlands as i love novels about those fearsome warriors. From clothes to food to politics to clans to names, nothing can be beneath your notice when wanting to set the scene. I'm finding mountains of information though and so far i've only surfed the net broadly. Next will be defining my search narrowly and then venturing out to the libraries to see what they have.
As a reader i appreciate the work that is involved behind the scenes to set the novel. As the writer of one i am awe of those who do the extensive research for all their novels.
It really is worth the effort. You wouldn't be happy with your novel if you knew you had made things up and hadn't checked and then get feedback from readers saying how wrong you are, they wouldn't have eaten that or talked like that etc.
Digging up all those facts also help in the shaping of Characters and the plot itself. History is peppered with grandious landscapes and action and even people that just beg to written about.
Take the time and enjoy the research process. I am and i can tell my writing is going to be better for it!