M. Lee Buompensiero

What if the “not so dearly departed” could return from the other side of the grave to right the wrongs they committed while alive? How would that impact the living? The main character in Sumerland is about to find out. Take a self-assured young heiress, a psychic best friend, a stray dog, a young veterinarian, an old mansion, and a couple of dispirited spirits with an axe to grind—mix them up—and you have Sumerland!

When Kate Post inherits the old Liebersohn mansion--her estranged mother's bizarre bequest to the daughter she rarely saw and barely knew—she doesn't want it, but an odd inscription etched in concrete beside a garden pathway haunts her dreams. Convinced that a period restoration will result in a quick sale, she begins renovating. But Kate's plans and the resident ghosts' scheme are about to collide. The result will unhinge Kate's world, uncover haunting family secrets, and set her on a mission to undo the wrongs that only she can set aright.

Sumerland is a story of a family divided—literally split in two—for generations. Neither side knowing about the existence of the other. Sumerland is based on another family story—mine. Like the family in Sumerland, we were two sides split by generations. Finding each other was purely dumb luck. A real miracle and maybe something else. Did the unseen hands of our long-dead ancestors play a part in reuniting us? We’ll never know. Sumerland answers that question. Its ghosts take us to their world to experience their life-altering events. We see how their misguided passions changed their lives and sealed their fates. Sumerland reveals how trust can be destroyed by betrayal, and be redeemed by love. Sumerland is a love letter from the past to the future

Available in paperback and e-book.

Sumerland​ was the winner of the 2017 San Diego Book Awards for Best Fiction

About the Author

M. Lee Buompensiero is a third generation San Diegan who was inspired to write Sumerland based on her family's true story. Through the memory of childhood events, and the oral history handed down from her grandmother, Buompensiero crafted Sumerland based on her grandparents' history and mistakes.

“Grandmother’s life was shrouded in secrets and shadows,” Buompensiero says. “Her estrangement from her husband resulted in a family split that lasted for generations. Their descendants reunion, 90 years later, became the catalyst for Sumerland.

Sumerland, Buompensiero says, “is first and foremost, a family fable. It is an homage to our ancestors, a declaration of hope that future generations may learn from the mistakes of the past—and not repeat them. Everything we are today has its beginnings in the lives of those who came before us.”

Buompensiero attributes her storytelling passion to her Grandmother Clara who raised her. "Her voice fueled my imagination and is why I write today. Her tall tales about growing up in the back woods of Canada were dark and pulsed with characters who were mired in misdeeds and tragedy. That is the reason
Sumerland is told as a ghost story. 

"If you were wondering," Buompensiero says, "the house in the story exists. I once lived there and experienced many instances of paranormal activity.  While researching this novel, I drove by the old place. It’s still there, at the top of hill, fenced off and, undoubtedly, still haunted.”

Buompensiero also writes under the pen name "Loren Zahn" and is the author of the Theo Hunter Mystery Series: Dirty Little Murders and Deadly Little Secrets. Please visit to learn more.