This lovely book is hilariously funny, somewhat moving, and (in passing) it will teach you something about Elizabethan history. Although it was written in 1941, it's set in about 1600 AD and doesn't seem at all dated.
The story is mainly about William Shakespeare and the theatrical profession in general, but it also involves the Queen and the leading notables of the time, including Sir Francis Bacon, who is mentioned in the title. There is some reminiscing about the defeat of the Spanish Armada twelve years earlier. There is also some business with a young lady who aspires to be an actress, although acting was then an exclusively male profession.
Some similarities have been noted between the book and the 1998 film Shakespeare in love, but I can't comment because I haven't seen the film.
Written in September 2007