The idea of a field was devised to help explain how forces can act over a distance. In the case of an electric field, the field extends out from every charge into the space surrounding it. When a second charge is placed in this field, it feels a force because of the electric field at that point.
A few reminders: The electric field is defined as the electric force per unit charge. The direction of the field is taken to be the direction of the force it would exert on a positive test charge. The electric field is radially outward from a positive charge and radially in toward a negative point charge.