CHARLES TOWN — What happens when four middle-aged baseball moms with kids on the same team start reading the sex-fueled book, “Fifty Shades of Grey”? Charles Town author Katherine Cobb’s new novel, “Fifty, Four Ways,” provides the answers.

The book, available in paperback and as an e-book, is set in the Eastern Panhandle. It follows Kelli, Mel, Candy and Lynn, whose sons play for the Washington High Patriots. After conversations at the concession stand, they each begin reading the book and soon find themselves assessing their sex lives, desires and satisfaction with their husbands.

“Fifty” is told from each woman’s perspective so readers get to experience their lives firsthand. The moms in the story include one who feels neglected by her spouse and doesn’t seek intimacy, another who struggles with shyness and body issues in the bedroom, one mom who suspects her husband is having an affair, and a woman who wants to take things to a kinkier level but knows she’ll have to convince her man first.

Cobb said the idea for the book came from her own life, starting with an overheard conversation at a Patriots baseball game.     

“I thought this would be a funny take on what might have happened in different marriages,” she explains in a news release. She wrote her first draft in about two months and then spent years editing it and having pre-readers provide feedback.

Some of her pre-readers had read British author E. L. James’s “Fifty Shades” series but more who had not. All her previewers loved what she’d written, Cobb said, even those who weren’t fans of James’s trilogy.

Cobb also is the author of the novel “Skyline Higher,” a nonfiction two-book set of “Panhandle Portraits,” a look at some of the diverse residents of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia; and “It Is What It Is,” a sampling of her favorite columns. Readers can learn more at

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