She was, she acknowledged, "damaged merchandise."
But some observers, Breslin wrote, sensed that the woman doth protest too much.
One of these was Margaret Powers, a New York City police officer who had been assigned to protect Linda after the assault. They became good friends.
"I could detect there was still some interest there," Powers, who now lives in California, recalled last week about Linda's attitude toward Burton. Who but Burton knew her as the beautiful girl she once was? Who but the man who had so horribly wronged her would feel the obligation to make things right?
In 1974, Burton finally won his release from Attica prison. He was under orders to stay away from Linda but was determined to send her a message. He got his chance when a local TV station interviewed him. She was watching when he asked her to marry him.
With Powers' encouragement, a mutual friend set up a meeting. "I was scared stiff it was a set-up," Burton, 85, recalled in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last week. But Linda was there, and she said yes.
When they were married on Nov. 27, 1974, the tabloids screamed the news and TV talk shows clamored for interviews.
They were always asked: Was it love that made them do it?
For Burton, there could be only one answer. "When we got married, I didn't have two dimes to roll together. She had more money than I did, so she didn't marry me for my money," the disbarred attorney, who worked as a paralegal after prison, said last week. "She married me because she loved me."
With Linda, the explanations varied.
"In my heart, I probably do love him," she told Geraldo Rivera after the nuptials. "I just find it hard to say the word."
Years later, she offered another motivation.
"Marrying him has been the best revenge. I'm a ball-breaker," she told the Washington Post in 2007 when "Crazy Love," a documentary about her roller-coaster relationship with Burton, was released.
"They would always be arguing, in public and in private," said director Dan Klores, who spent hours interviewing her for the film. "She would say things like: 'Burt, he's a weakling, I'm much tougher than he is.' She knew how to yank his chains."
Yet something held them together. She painted his portrait. He bought her furs. They took trips and regularly ate out at a local diner. A book about them was published in 1976 called "A Very Different Love Story," by Barry Stainback.
When glaucoma stole the sight from her remaining eye, she grew more dependent on Burton, but still "she took care of the house. She took care of me," he said. "The incident," as he calls the lye attack, was behind them.
As astonishing as their marriage was, its longevity was even more unexpected.
In the early 1990s, nearly 20 years after they exchanged vows, Linda had heart surgery and spent several weeks in the hospital. During her convalescence, Burton started an affair with another woman.
It lasted five years and ended badly, with Burton on trial in 1997 for threatening to kill her. The woman testified that when she tried to end the relationship, Burton told her, "It's 1959 all over again."
Except that this time Linda took the stand to defend him. She called him a "wonderful and caring husband." Convicted on one count of harassment, he spent 15 days in jail. Then he and Linda went back to being, in her words, "an old married couple."